14 August, 2002
What an interesting day! Things were going well at our new station, West Hanna Shoal 6, until the wind began picking up soon after the pumping ended. A deep low pressure area had settled over us bringing 50 knot (about 55 m.p.h.) winds, steady rain (very unusual), and warmer temperatures (in the low 40's). All CTD work and zooplankton sampling had to be halted before dinner, but we were allowed to continue with our benthic work since we work off the stern of the ship which is somewhat protected in this kind of weather. After our Haps core came up, the multi-core went into the water and we all went to dinner. Since we were planning to take cores from the multi-core (we do this when it is too deep to send down the van Veen grabs), we were all on deck when it came up. By then the captain had closed all forward decks and soon after we were all called in from the stern. We eventually went back out on deck to complete our work, but as soon as we were done, all decks were secured. I'm writing this at 8:45 PM, and no one is allowed out on any deck. The barometer has dropped three more degrees and is still going down. We're also about 24 miles from our next station. It looks like most people will get a good night's sleep!
It's times like these that I realize why I was not an English major. I'm finding it tough to adequately describe what it was like to be on deck. Because we were on the stern and somewhat protected from the direct wind, it was really fun to do our work. We definitely had waves, but the ice in the area helped to keep them from getting too high. We were all in our mustang suits or rain gear and waterproof gloves and boots. I felt like a kid again, playing in the rain and the mud! It took us about an hour and a half to complete our work, and I really enjoyed it. The large chunks of ice that moved by quickly in the high winds were absolutely gorgeous! The waves were crashing over the top of the ice floes which consist of bright white ice layered over the brilliant blue ice underneath. Before we came in, we could start to see the pitching (forward and back movement) of the ship as the stern lowered closer to the water and then rose up again. For the first time, I felt as though I was really on a ship in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. I could feel the ship rolling and pitching in the water; any previous movement had been from the ship breaking ice.
Some people have suggested that I include more pictures of myself in my journals. I've taken few outdoor pictures lately because the weather has been so foggy and dark, but I do have two pictures of me taken indoors by others. One relates to my journals which I post every day in the mess. Jennifer Crain has photographed her stuffed moose, Morise, with every person on the ship, and she took my picture with Morise and my posted journals. The second picture was taken when I was fast asleep in the mud room waiting for our core to settle (the water on top must be clear) before we sectioned it. The beanbag is remarkably comfortable when one is sleep deprived! I managed 15 minutes of sleep and I have no recollection of anyone taking my picture!
One final note: I usually post my journals just before the ship sends out e-mail at noon. It's now10:45 AM on the 15th and we can still feel the rolling and pitching of the ship beneath us. The winds died down over night but picked up again this morning. Once again, the only work that can be done is the pumping and the benthic work off the stern. It's simply too rough to take a chance putting other more delicate instruments into the water off the side of the ship.
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