By Holly Westbrook
8/9/19 Things are starting to wind down here, we’ve got a week left and only 5 stations remaining. We will only be sampling gases at 2 of the remaining 5 which means there is even less to do regarding sampling. On the other hand, we now have to start preparing for departure. The most time consuming portion will likely be preparing our coolers. We need to make sure all of our bottles are secure, depressurized, and properly cushioned in order to avoid them breaking in the transit back to South Carolina. Some of the coolers have a bit of space left so that we can also store some gear in them. We’ll have to look back over our manifest to see where we kept everything when we were shipping them up here and try to recreate that, that way we won’t have to completely redo the manifest. Most of our samples will be stored on the ship until it returns to Quebec City in September, but the N2/Ar samples are considered time-sensitive and will be flying out with us from Resolute Bay next week.
Today was a bit of a break actually, we stopped in Grise Fjord and had a community visit. There were three groups from the local community who came to the ship and were given a tour of the facilities. Scientists from each group gave short presentations about their work, but our team wasn’t actually asked to present so I mainly just slept in and enjoyed having a cell signal again.
We have another station coming up in a few hours; it actually wasn’t a part of the original schedule but since we have the time we added it to the schedule. I don’t think we added any extra stations to the previous leg—we already were starting a day behind and had to make up for that lost time. On this leg we’ve added 4 extra stations (though one of them replaced a station that we couldn’t access), including one that was the furthest north the Amundsen has ever gone!
The landscape here is a bit different than further north, there isn’t really any sea ice or glaciers so it’s not as scenic. Still, it’s beautiful in how rugged it is out here. I think I’m just a little sad to be leaving such premium polar bear territory.
When the ship isn’t moving and the sun is shining it’s actually fairly warm out here; some days I’m comfortable sitting outside in tee shirt sometimes. Of course, once I get back to South Carolina in August I’ll have a different perspective on what “warm” is.
That time isn’t too far away now, the journey is almost complete! After this the real fun begins when I have to analyze all the samples that we’ve been collecting for 6 weeks.