Notes from the Arctic – 2nd Sampling Day August 28th, 2010

Hi All,

We made it back out on the water today!  When we woke up, although it was still foggy, the wind had dropped significantly so that the station manager Lewis Brower and captain Quuniq agreed it was safe for us to go out.  We still had 3’ swells, but the chop was mostly gone.  After checking our gear, most of which was already loaded on the boat from yesterday and suiting up in our very attractive Mustang survival suits, we headed-out to the Niksraq ramp to the east of the station (past the football field and duck camp).

Debbie couldn’t join us today since she was scheduled to present a talk on climate change and ocean acidification to a local audience.  We try to make presentations each time we are here in an effort to give something back to our hosts.  Obviously I couldn’t attend the talk since I was out sampling, but I heard it went very well.  The room was packed and there were lots of questions.  Debbie said that she felt she had just been through another doctoral defense since the questions were so extensive and good.

Back to the sampling trip.  On our way out from the Niksraq launch, as we pass Point Barrow, we cross from the Beaufort Sea into the Chuckchi Sea.  Today, without all the chop, where the two oceans meet was distinctly visible with the Chuckchi looking a bit browner then the Beaufort.  Very cool!

Where two oceans meet. The Chuckchi and Beaufort seas.

We made it to our station and anchored this time.  After our first trip captain Quuniq made sure he had a suitable anchor and enough line to keep us on station.  This made our sampling much more efficient.  While we were anchoring we were visited by a small group of bearded seals, one of which, a 9 footer, gave us quite a show by jumping all the way out of the water.  Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough with the camera.

Sampling went smoothly and even more efficiently then our first day.

Collecting samples

It seems that practice does help.  It only took us 1.5 hours from the time we reached our station until the time we left and it felt much easier.  We were really working as a team anticipating each others needs and helping each other out as needed.

Once back to shore we quickly got to work setting up our experiments and processing samples.  For Victoria and me, that means filtering a lot of water.

Victoria filtering water samples

We all finished-up by 7:00 pm and decided to go out to dinner for Chinese food at a local restaurant called Northern Lights and, with the possible exception of a somewhat surly waitress, it was a very good dinner.  Better then last night for sure.  While at dinner we were able to discuss our plans for tomorrow.  Because we are a day off our planned schedule we decided to attempt to do an abbreviated sampling tomorrow and make a trip to the Mead River to collect those humics we’ve been looking for.  The weather forecast predicts favorable conditions with the winds continuing to lessen.  If all goes well we will be able to collect our final samples for this trip and find the humics we need for our next trip in January.

Wish us luck,


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