As we left Pond Inlet, the Icebreaker Oden passed through several clouds of fog on its transit back to Lancaster Sound. Within the gaps, between the fog clouds, we were actually able to see very clearly (thanks to the bright sunlight). Although the moments of clarity were brief, there was plenty of wildlife to observe that had otherwise been obscured by the fog. It was during this time that we had spotted our first polar bear, as well as several bowhead whales. The bridge erupted with excitement when we spotted them, and within minutes, several people joined us on the bridge to view them. As one of the Seabirds and Mammals Team members pointed out, the polar bear was a male and appeared well-fed. By the end of the day, we had seen three polar bears and three bowheads.
In other news, the Seabirds and Mammals Team had its first experience helping with the CTD sensor by collecting water samples requested by the Microscopic Communities Team. Albeit a short amount of time, it was a good tutorial for what CTD sampling is like and how to collect water from the sampling bottles. The CTD is a device that nearly every one of the scientists uses for data collection. Thus it can actually be hectic at times when everyone is gathering water samples for their respective projects.
After helping the Microscopic Communities Team secure their samples from the CTD, I went to help one of my mentors, Holly Morin, conduct one of the first live, NPP broadcasts to one of the partner museums. Although I was not in the broadcast, I got to help everyone get ready for the broadcast and saw what it was like to run a broadcast from behind the scenes. I then realized how difficult the communications side of our project is to coordinate after seeing everything required to have a successful show.
My day had a great conclusion when I witnessed one of the two Inuit early career scientists participating in our project gift a Nunavut flag to the captain of the ship.