July 4, 2009
59° 54.00 N
I arrived down in the main lab at 06:30 this morning. The pigment profiles off the Prod CTD finished quickly so I headed up two decks and forward to the stable isotope lab to help Matt. Strapped to the deck of the R/V Thompson are several portable lab trailers that allow the ship to be customized to the needs of a particular cruise and provide extra workspace. If you look at the Thompson's picture that I posted in the gallery you can see some of these labs just in front of the bridge. The two trailers in the middle are the stable isotope lab and radio-isotope lab while the outside two are simply for storage. There are three more located on the port side of the aft deck, a cold lab for processing the sediment cores, a lab for chlorophyll processing, and a third for storage.
The traps were recovered for the fourth and final time shortly after lunch. Tranquil seas and three deployments worth of experience have refined the sequence into a finely coordinated and efficient process. The brine was allowed to settle and the separations began.
At 17:15 the Thompson celebrated the holiday with a 4th of July barbecue. Dan, one of the Thompson's cooks, had been out on deck for the past hour or so preparing steaks, hot dogs, and salmon. One of the closed-circuit cameras that was previously trained on the CTD was now focused on the grill. About five scientists had gathered in our corner of the main lab to watch the meal unfold on the monitor. They treated it like the Food Network, cheering when the hot dogs went on the grill, critiquing his distribution technique, and heaping praise on him when he was able to flip two steaks with one deft move of the tongs. I don't think Dan had any idea of the starring role he played today.
Logistics prevented us from feasting on deck, so the food was moved into the galley and by the chief scientist's decree, the science would come to a halt for a while. At 18:00 the captain invited us to the fantail for a pyrotechnic display of epic proportions. Well, not really but it was the best he could do under the circumstances. He instructed us on the use of flares and fired off several parachute flares high into the sky much to the delight of the crowd. Don't worry the Coast Guard was notified ahead of time.
When the smoke subsided it was back to the lab. Pat retired back to the stateroom to rest up for his 02:00 bongo deployment, leaving Matt and I to finish up. After the initial sediment trap samples of two weeks prior took 72 hours to filter these filtrations seemed to fly by in only a matter of hours. It is now 21:00 and all 20 of the tubes have been filtered, processed, and packaged up. It is time for bed and I'm too tired to read.