Depth: Less than 50 metersThis is my first journal entry in about week, and I can't say it's because I've been really busy. It's more because there hasn't been a whole lot happening for our group lately. In my last journal I mentioned some of the reasons why we might not get good cores- well, this week we've been having trouble coring due to sandy sediment. Sand is difficult to core, and it's also very difficult to process if we get any cores. It clogs up the tubes on our radon jars, there isn't much water in the sediment, and most of the cores we get from a sandy site are very short (less than 8 centimeters long). We would like to have long cores (20 centimeters long or more, ideally) because we get better data, so it's disappointing to core a sandy area. The other reason we've been having trouble coring is due to the weather- we are out of the ice right now and the seas have been rough. If the ship drifts too quickly while we are trying to core, it just ends up dragging the multicorer along the bottom and we get bad (if any) samples.
Last night we successfully cored a site near the Pribilof Islands. The cores weren't great, but they were better than none, so we quickly processed what we could. The next site we visit will be a deep station (around 3000 meters) and we are hoping for good weather so that we can get good cores. If the swell is small, the cores we get will be long and full of good mud, because the sediment is very fine at deep stations. Life after three weeks on board the ship is good- everyone has fallen into their routines as best as they can. One thing that happens on the ship every Saturday is a morale dinner, and a different group cooks dinner to relive the regular ship cooks. Last night was the science party's turn, so everyone lent a hand to make a fabulous meal of krill legs and seagull enchiladas (really crab legs and chicken enchiladas, but scientists have to have their fun somehow!) <img class="standalone-image" src="/files/members/emily-davenport/images/becca.jpg" alt="Becca" title="Rebecca Neumann helps cut up seagull (chicken) for the enchiladas (Photo by Jonathan Whitefield)" />
The dinner was a great way to say farewell to some of our colleagues, who are leaving today for home. This means that we are over halfway into our cruise- we have been on board for three weeks and have approximately two more weeks to go. Currently we are sitting off shore from St. Paul Island (one of the Pribilof Islands), and have been for the majority of the day as we wait for the weather to clear up enough to make the necessary helicopter trips. Up until an hour ago the weather was too foggy to fly, but they recently made their first successful flight by helicopter to St Paul.
We are losing 13 scientists and gaining 8, and it is sad to see some of our friends leave, but it will be fun to get to know the new scientists over the next couple of weeks.
We are headed back to the ice soon, and hopefully better coring, so there will be more to write about in the next two weeks. Be sure to tune into the live event from Healy on May 1st!!