It is not what you think...cutting a hole in the ice and catching fish. I mean literally ice fishing; fishing for ice to collect ice algae as mentioned in "You are what you eat.". In the rain on August 10th, two zodiacs were lowered one at a time down the side of the ship. One boat was designated as the science collectors (seven people) and the other as observers (8 total), including Coast Guard personal. We had a maximum collecting capacity of 400 lbs of ice. I was in the observer boat that turned into a collecting boat due to an over zealous PhD student.
The Incredible Shrinking Cup!
The deepest CTD deployment was at midnight August 13th at depth of about 2000 meters. We drew pictures on Styrofoam cups that were bagged in a net and inserted into one of the bottles for that deep CTD station. Why did the cups shrink? As depth increases, pressure increases and since Styrofoam contains many air spaces, the cup is compressed as air is squeezed out from the tremendous pressure at depth.
And The Race Is On...Packing Up
Have you ever packed so well that you used every available centimeter of space in your luggage, but now your trip is over and your luggage over flows? How did that happen? For the most part equipment and supplies that were loaded on the ship in June at the Coast Guard's homeport (Seattle) will remain onboard until the ship returns home after completing two more missions. Our Chukchi Sea ecosystem study aboard the Healy was called a mission. The plan is for all of us to take up the same amount of space we did prior to our expedition and not overflow our cargo hold areas! The MST (Marine Science Technician) runs the elevator (hoist) down to the hold, and everyone needs to transports items. Let the organized chaos begin! It's not a bad thing, it's just a function of human nature, and all items get stowed without incident. There will be some perishable samples and specimens that will be shipped from Barrow.
Today we leave the ship...our home for the last few weeks. Another science cruise will take our place, upon our check out. We will have room inspections prior to departure...remember this is a working vessel and not a cruise ship. We are responsible for cleaning and maintaining our quarters. Once we are cleared to leave we head towards the exit. First, an onboard crane will use a sling to offload some of the groups' luggage and coolers of samples into the barge. Next, wearing our mustang suits, we will walk down very steep leveling stairs to the barge. Keep in mind the ship is in motion and so is the barge. This is a challenge and I am glad I only have two small carry-ons.