ADVENTURES OF A
We finally made it to our first station and started working! This cruise is made up of a series of 91 sampling locations between Antarctica and South Africa. We call each of these a “station”. At each station, we lower an instrument called a CTD (conductivity-temperature-density) to about 10 meters from the bottom of the ocean. On the way up, we stop periodically to “fire bottles”, aka, to send a command to the instrument to close a bottle and get a water sample at that depth. Once the CTD is back onboard, we use the bottles to fill smaller sample bottles for different measurements like carbon, oxygen, salinity, pH, nutrients, and chlorofluorocarbons while the ship navigates to the next station. It takes about 4 hours at each station, and then it is 2-3 hours in between stations.
Our first day of work was hectic: the first stations are shallower and closer together, so we made it to 5 stations in one 12 hour shift! The longest break I took was 20 minutes to eat dinner. But, it was also an amazing day. The night before, we could see the southern lights. And in the morning, we were surrounded by pancake ice and grease ice. The water was so viscous that waves looked like they were moving in slow motion.
The second day was a little more relaxing. We did 2 stations, which is more typical of what we will be doing each day for the rest of the cruise. We also saw a beautiful iceberg at sunset, and an incredible moon rise. I have seen so many amazing things I never dreamed I would see. Even with it being super cold outside, and working a ton, these have been 2 of the best days of my life.