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9 August, 2001

Lab Day

Thursday, 9 August 2001


Life on Board

At about 9 pm, a very large, very fat bear approached the ship from upwind to within about 1 kilometer and everybody headed up to the bridge or out on Deck 4 to see what it would do next. These bears fascinate everybody, even if they are a kilometer away. Our security people believe that it came up the scent trail of the ship, possibly from hundreds of kilometers away, and circled around to upwind to check us out. There must be some pretty interesting smells and sounds coming from this place: diesel, solvents, chemicals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, people, beeping Doppler acoustic radar, rumbling engines. It stayed at that distance, walking around, laying down, sniffing the air, sitting down with its back to us. It lounged on top of a small ice ridge for a long time, facing us, one foreleg bent around in front of it like it was leaning against a bar. People lost interest after awhile and drifted away. I guess the bear lost interest after awhile, too, and drifted away.

Where Are We Now?

The wind changed direction and was blowing from behind the ship so at about 10 am, the crew had to turn the ship around 180 degrees. This is necessary for air sampling on the foredeck but a hassle for everyone because they disconnect all the power to the ice camps and pull up the gangway for a few hours. I needed to run up to my container from the aft deck to make sure my computer and cameras were tied down because the ship must icebreak a little to turn around. People in the labs need to make sure everything is secured also. What is always interesting is that they only give us about 15 minutes warning every time this happens. Coordinates on this cloudy day were 88o35' North by 3o48' East at 7 pm.

Scientists at Work

Twice a week, we have intensive sampling days where everybody in the atmospheric chemistry group takes data and samples all day, if they can. Then they use the days in between to analyze their data and prepare graphs to share at the next meeting. At 8 am, my small Bigelow lab group heads out to the aft deck to lower the chlorophyll fluorometer (from Biospherical Instruments) down to 100 meters by hand. This gives Patricia Matrai information about where the plankton are most likely to be found in the water column, so she watches the incoming data on the computer screen as Brian Thompson and I lower the instrument. Then at 9 am the big CTD/sampling rosette is lowered. From this, we take seawater samples from 100, 50, 30, 20, 10, and 5 meters depth, and a surface sample.

The Biogeochemical Group has drilled a hole through the ice out at their ice camp and put up a tent around it. They have equipment inside their tent (and a snowman outside their tent) and they can pump water up from any depth. Our group asked them to get samples from the same seven depths at the same time we were sampling from the open water lead (so I had twice the normal number of samples to process today). The scientists want to see how the biology and chemistry under the ice differs from the open lead where the ship is sitting.

Vi ses! (See you later!)

From Deck 4 on the Icebreaker Oden, drifting randomly, northeast of 88, Dena Rosenberger

Brian and I lowering the chlorophyll fluorometer from the aft deck (Don't worry Mom, we are safety harnassed to the ship)

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