20 July, 2004
We finished the last science station early this afternoon, but the mud sampling was finished yesterday. Ari and Rebecca did chlorophyll readings every hour through the night, and Jackie is still not quite done with her respiration work. In general, however, it was a day to break things down, clean up, and pack equipment. That's not any easy job when supplies, samples, and equipment are going to three different places - the University of Tennessee, the USCGC Healy (which has already started its six week summer cruise), or the hold of the Laurier where it will be stored until the summer of 2005.
In the morning, I spoke with Mark Taylor, Commanding Officer of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Captain Taylor has been in the Canadian Coast Guard for 31 years, and he's been on the Laurier since 2000. He was able to provide me with information about the work of the Coast Guard which is, unlike the US Coast Guard, a civilian operation. Although there are some enforcement officers in the fleet, the primary responsibilities fall into five categories: 1. aids to navigation (buoys, beacons, etc.) 2. search and rescue, mainly along the coast 3. West Arctic ice breaking and escort 4. science, mainly in the Arctic and 5. fisheries operations. Other duties include oil pollution response, boating and safety inspections, and work with the RCMP and immigration. All in all, the Laurier is a fine example of an extremely efficient ship!
At the moment, we are all watching an example of the Laurier's crew in action. A few days ago, they received word of a sailboat with a fishing net tangled in the propeller. Since the boat was in no danger, we waited until we came to their location. Since late afternoon, the crew has been working to disentangle the net. Having sailed from Australia a year and a half ago, the two people on board are anxious to get back to their attempt to sail through the Northwest Passage from west to east. After seeing sea ice for the first time today and feeling the cold winds on deck, it's tough to imagine what that trip will be like. These are two hardy sailors!
You'll see one other picture in today's journal. Gerald Rohatensky, the ship's computer specialist, has been incredibly helpful as I set up my computer, re-sized all my photos, and posted my daily journals and pictures. He spent several hours with me over the first couple of days, and I'm very grateful!
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