EMMA 20140808

Oy, that´s quick. A few days have passed already. Guess what! We have now filtered the last high volume filter sample on this cruise. We have used ALL the filters that we brought along. This means two things:

1)   The sampling part of this campaign/expedition is coming to an end for my team, and for many others. Continuous measurements will of course go on as long as we can have equipment running. There is a need to store things away before we leave for Barrow so the last days we need to pack and clean. We now have two filter holders going with filtration of planktonic material, but no more large filters, no more Teflon filters and no more extraction of dissolved matter on columns

2)   We have successfully retrieved even more samples than we had planned. We are now on transit, from our last station, number 67, to our bonus area over the Herald Canyon. Imagine that, 67 successful stations with material. We will have so much to work with back home. A great feeling. We still have another area that we will sample – The Herald Canyon. This is outside of our polygons of planned cruise stations, but for us, there will be only light type work there (collecting plankton on small mesh).

We have started the process of packing things into boxes. Yesterday we disconnected the large hose that we have had on the deck, rolled up the three 50-meter pieces onto the big drums/carts so that they are ready to stow into the storage. Once they had been disconnected it was important we take them away rather quickly, since there was a risk it would get cold enough for the leftover water in them to actually freeze. During the sampling part we have had sea water running through the hose pretty much constantly. Fortunately this has been enough to keep it from freezing since the temperatures have rarely been below a couple of degrees below zero. Yesterday we were rolling them up and working on deck realizing that we would have to stop for dinner – and continue afterwards. It was fortunate we did go out right after dinner because the hoses had already gotten a lot stiffer, and a lot more difficult to handle.


Rolled up fire hoses.

The other thing that have started now is an intense phase of meetings and discussion about the next steps. We have set up clusters of people on board to discuss different aspects. Which data goes together? What is the current knowledge base around these questions? What data did we actually collect, where, and what is the spatial coverage?

It is a tough task however to switch from a mind of logistics thinking, hard labour, intense decision making, very physical work – a state of mind where, despite little sleep, had to be concentrated and constantly ready to take on another task - into a concentrated, creative, sharp minded mode in front of a computer and in scientific discussion with others. Also this despite the little sleep having built up during these weeks.

After station 67 that was completed in the day/afternoon there was a sausage gathering on the bow deck. They set up a large pot of sausages and soft drinks. The sun was shining, sky was blue. Many people had the last station sampling being underway, or done. We were cheering, bantering, and relaxing in the sun. Enjoying the ice breaking in the front. Taking pictures and chatting away. It was a perfect treat!

On the other hand I got a first touch of “it is nearly over”. This was quite an anti-climax. I turned off the last pump and thought. Hm, I feel sad. Though it is nice to have closure and get things that you are working with to the end phase it feels sad already. Mostly for the people that I have come so close to. You are spending a lot of time with many more people than you normally do. This – I will for sure miss.

Next – to leave the ice edge, and sample the Herald Canyon.

by Emma Karlsson
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