Thwarted by Mother Nature and Modern Technology
We had a slow start to today, and went out after lunch to try to finish up Daksha's CTD data. Unfortunately we were thwarted by really heavy ice conditions – there must have been an enormous amount of iceberg calving in the less than 24 hours since we were last at the ice front. Yesterday was almost ice free, and today was just choked up with icebergs. Some of them were the largest I've seen yet – probably at least 50-75 feet wide and 30-40 feet high. So we aborted the CTD's and just went to upload HOBO data. What a difference a day makes at the ice front – yesterday overcast and ice-free; today sunny and choked with ice!
We were optimistic about finally beginning George's mapping project as the part from the echo sounder that we've been waiting for, for three weeks, finally arrived. Unfortunately, once the part was installed it turns out that the SCSI card in the computer is fried! George, Julie and Ross are putting their heads together, but the mapping piece seems to be jinxed... all part of the Murphy's Law piece of science.
I really have to hand it to George - although his project has faced the biggest of setbacks he has maintained his sense of humor about it. And he has happily helped everyone else out with getting their own data collected. He is an amazing team player!
On a happy note, today is Daksha's 21st birthday! So we had a little celebration in the lab with a cake that the cooks had made for dinner. She was really happy to have us celebrate with her!
After our little birthday party Rebecca, Liz, Daksha and I, along with Anton (one of the research assistants at the radio tower) went fossil hunting up in the moraines behind Ny Ålesund. I found a couple of really cool fossils – a shell from limestone (that I think is Permian in age ~250 million years ago) and a leaf impression from Jurassic sandstone with a piece of petrified wood (from ~200 to 145 million years ago). It's amazing to realize that this barren piece of Arctic land once supported trees!