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News from the CCGS Amundsen

By: Holly Westbrook

Icebergs off Greenland


It’s been a week since we boarded the Amundsen and it has been a very busy but exciting time. We began sampling on Monday the 8th after leaving Iqaluit. Since then we’ve crossed Baffin Bay, and we have sampled 9 stations. We sample for N2/Ar, N­2O isotopes, DON isotopes, NO­3- isotopes, CH4+ isotopes, salinity, DIC, δ18O-H2O, and chlorophyll. Having to handle this many parameters was difficult at first, but myself and the three other people I am collaborating with have now got a routine down and things are moving quickly and systematically. Sometimes the rosette casts are very early in the morning, like today’s which had out team up at 2 am. However, the bright side is that the sun is basically always out and we usually get some amazing views to brighten our spirits!

That being said, we’re not sampling 24 hours a day. Once samples are properly preserved and we have prepared for the next station we have some down time to catch up on sleep, eat food, or just chat with the others on the ship. We crossed the Arctic circle early on in the trip and yesterday we began our initiation in order to formally introduce ourselves to King Neptune. Unfortunately the details of this process are highly confidential, but it does involve multiple “activities” and some penalties. On Sunday we should be finished up with that process and have received Neptune’s permission to continue.

When we first left Iqaluit we were having to break a lot of ice, but as we got further away from shore the waters became more open. Right now we just see the occasional stray iceberg. Though we might not be seeing as much ice, we have seen a bit of wild life. Earlier on there was a polar bear off in the distance, which I unfortunately missed. Thankfully, others on the ship were able to take pictures, and hopefully there will be more to come! On Wednesday we saw three whales who were curious about the ship which caused a small break in our schedule as most people dropped everything to go watch.

So far it’s been a tiring but amazing time; here’s to 5 more weeks out here!

That’s all for now!


Photo credit for whale picture: Julia Baak

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