I would have never thought that staying up from 12 am to 12 pm could in any way, shape or form be fun. Boy was I wrong! It was entertaining in a nonsensical way. Mirella (my roomate and teammate, #GoTeamPO) were up at 11:40 PM to get ready for our overnight watch and for some reason we just could not stop laughing about anything and everything. Perhaps it was a coping mechanism, perhaps it was sailors insanity, but it was entertaining. For the fact that it was a long, hard shift, everyone was so chipper and hands on, ready to work. Our main focus for the shifts was deploying the CTD Rossette in different locations. A CTD Rosette is a machine used to measure the conductivity, temperature, and depth of seawater. Conductivity is measured so that it can be used to determine the salinity (salt content) of the water. What was really cool was watching the salinity decrease the closer we got to a glacier, this was because as the glacier melts, freshwater is being added into that body of water. The rosette has bottles called Niskin bottles and via computer we can fill these bottles at different depths! We deployed the rosette five times in total at different locations, with about a 30 minute transit time between each. Those 30 minutes were used to drink plenty of hot chocolate and look at glaciers. Along with the occasional dance number here and there.
Another thing we were tasked with doing surface water sampling. This is probably the only time in my life I could get an icebreaker to stop moving for me! We sampled surface water by calling the bridge (where the captain of the boat sits) and having them stop. Once the ship stopped completely, we lowered a bucket attached to a line over the side of the boat, filled it and brought it back up. Once the bucket was back on deck, we were able to measure various water properties. After we have finished, we called the bridge and gave them the okay and continued about our merry way.
This day was by far the most exciting, however, while lounging about, we got the call from our local seabird expert, Rick Ludkin, that he had sighted a polar bear on the ice! Immediately everyone flocked to a pair of binoculars to look for it. Sure enough, the fluffy little (big) nugget was sitting on the ice, hanging out. I finally get to go back home and say I have seen a live polar bear in the Arctic! Thinking that that was the end of our animal sightings for the evening, we left the bridge, only to get a call maybe 30 minutes later that there were whales! Surely enough, I quickly walked back up the stairs to the bridge and got to see the spouts of bowhead whales! After another hour or so I forced myself to head to bed or else I would end up staying up all night looking for animals on or around the ice. But then again, there are probably worse ways to spend your time!