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30 September, 2001

September 30, 2001

Return to Civilization

As we head south towards Norway we are well away from the ice and enjoying calm, open seas. There are no signs of gloomy Arctic weather today-- just beautiful sunshine, warm temperatures (near 40 F) and several signs of life. Whales were spotted spraying into the air, hundreds of birds are following the ship, and a small fleet fishing vessels were sighted in the area. We even saw stars for the first time in weeks last night. It feels like we are back to the civilized part of our planet for the first time in 2 months.

With just 2 days left until we reach port in Norway, you would think that we would be relaxing and enjoying our successes. Well guess again! We still have much work to do and are busy in the lab. There are rocks to be processed, glass to be picked, data to be entered, and the entire lab to pack up and then clean! We will be working until the very end. I am most definitely looking forward to returning to life back home so that I can relax and recover.

So what happens to the many tons of rocks that we have collected? We have been placing the hundreds of buckets and bags in a holding container that will remain on the Healy when we disembark. The rocks will stay on the icebreaker where they will travel back to Seattle-arriving in December. There they will be unloaded and moved via tractor-trailer to Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. They will remain there, but be accessible to scientists from all over who wish to work with them for years to come.

It is hard to believe that there is just one day is left before wrapping up our most outstanding mission. It is amazing to think that although it took just 9 weeks, the rocks and data collected here will be important for years to come. That is a very rewarding thought.

<> No more ice! It's a beautiful day!

<> Hundreds of bags of processed glass will be sent home along with nearly 15,000 pounds of rocks!

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