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28 September, 2001

A Return to the Open Sea

Last night after our celebrations, we were called to the main science lab. We were informed that during the course of the night, we would leave the ice behind and hit open water. The lab and everything in it needed to be secured in case the water was rough. As we didn't want to lose anything to the waves, we set to work.

During the night we left the ice edge and hit waters that were quite calm. Most of the science party slept in and relaxed in the morning before returning to the lab to work. Just because there are no more dredges doesn't mean that we are done with our work. We still have hundreds of rocks to describe, glass the processes and pick, and packing up to do that will take several days. The rocks collected on the Healy and Polarstern were exchanged during our final ice liberty, so now we have numerous buckets of Polarstern samples to work on, too. The afternoon was spent on these tasks.

The stressful atmosphere associated with our science program these last few months has finally diminished. We are no longer on our round the clock shifts, so we are able to work together and enjoy each other's company. We will have just 4 more days before we part from each other and return to the lives we left behind.

Soffer has some fun in the science lab.

I "clean up" in the lab by placing mud in vials. The mud was collected from the ocean floor at the North Pole a few weeks back and will be distributed as souvenirs for everyone on board.

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