July 1, 2009
59° 54.316 N
The alarm came quickly at 05:40. I stayed up later than I should have last night unsuccessfully trying to finish Into Thin Air. I am two chapters shy of the end and hope to have them read by the end of the day. The NM line commenced at 06:15 with a standard CTD cast. We have been experiencing some problems with the CTD recently. Some bottles carrying samples to the surface are leaking when they arrive on deck and others are not firing (closing) when directed by the operator to do so, lowering the carrying capacity of the rosette. The techs have tried to remedy the situation by replacing the o rings on all of the bottles in an attempt to stop the leak and rewiring the connections to ensure that corrosion of the wires is not at fault. The bottles have also become increasingly difficult to reset after cast so I have been called on to lend some muscle. Anyway I can help out if fine with me.
The water is very shallow this close to Nunavak Island, only 23 meters deep. As a result, only three samples were taken off the standard CTD cast for small-volume thorium filtrations. Somehow, Jonathan was able to come up with seven different depths for the phytoplankton survey so I ran my usual filtrations. They were completed and the filters packaged and frozen by 10:30. Because of the low salinity (29.6) I took another surface sample from the CTD cast at 83-MN2, labeled, bagged it, and headed upstairs for lunch.
Not that I was in great shape before this trip but it will take me weeks if not months undo these four weeks. Gaining weight on a cruise is a given. There is an endless supply of good food and the options for exercise are somewhat limited. The ship does have a small fitness room but those of us 5'8" or taller would find it difficult to run on the treadmill without encountering the ceiling on every stride. I am hoping the weather is nice when we get back to Dutch for I intend to walk right down the gangway and to the top of Mount Ballyhoo (the 1800-foot high mountain that overlooks the entrance to Dutch Harbor). It will be nice to get out and stretch the legs a bit. After lunch it was cleaning time. Every piece of plastic Nalgene lab ware (nobody uses glass at sea) including sample bottles, graduated cylinders, filter holders, frits, tubes, caps, and funnels has to be rinsed three times thoroughly with deionized water before it can be used again- on busy days up to three times a day. Once completed, my only other duty was to watch the salinity reading on the computer and see if it was worthwhile to grab another surface sample for uranium levels.
I quickly finished Into Thin Air and went upstairs to the library. I needed something a little more light-hearted so I decided on John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat. This story was much more uplifting than its predecessor but now all I think about is how nice it would be to just relax under a tree on a warm day with a freshly baked baguette and a good bottle of red wine. I finished that book shortly after dinner and grabbed Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 by Garrison Keillor off the shelf. But Lake Wobegon would have to wait until tomorrow, as it was movie night in the lounge at 20:00. Apparently I am one of the select few on board that has not seen the oceanographic staple, The Life Aquatic with Bill Murray. It was weird. A bunch of guys dressed in powder blue wetsuits and red knit caps searching the ocean for the elusive jaguar shark. This is done while fending off Southeast Asian pirates and their rival oceanographers that are much better funded. They tell me that it this is one of those movies that you appreciate the more you watch it. I don't know about that one. It might be a while before I put that to the test.