Friday, July 16, 2010

The daily routine

We have a tight schedule aboard ship, trying to get everyone all the data they want while also working in the ship's necessities. As a community of more than forty humans, well-nourished by the galley, we generate a fair bit of waste. In a given day we fill the ship's holds about three times, meaning three times daily we steam away from our station, empty out, and steam back to resume instrument deployments. In some ways, the forced hiatus from sample collection is a welcome time to focus on conducting experiments in the lab.

Thursday morning's first CTD deployment went very smoothly. The rosette slipped into the calm seas smoothly, headed down to 250 decibars, collecting a striking fluorescence profile, and started its return. As the sky gained a tinge of color and the CTD emerged from the sea, the bridge radioed down that the large ship we could see off to the west was an aircraft carrier. All 24 bottles, fired at 25m, went to the UH group for their radiolabeling experiments. I headed up to watch the sunrise from upper decks, getting my morning dose of sea salt on the hands. If you run your hand along the underside of the handrails as you pass along the upper decks, you can easily collect about a teaspoon of salt, deposited by evaporating sea spray.

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