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> May 9 – And so the science begins, Our first sampling station
post May 12 2006, 12:13 AM
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Group: TREC Team
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Date: May 9, 2006

GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 61° 39’ N
Longitude: 173° 25’ W

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Do you know what all the little dots mean? The ones in front of the ship are our sampling stations where we stop to collect data. Do you see a pattern in the dots?

I have been assigned to the “midnight to noon” shift. That means, that I will be watching and helping the scientists that work at night and through the morning. It could be anytime that we get to a station and who ever is on shift, will do the sampling. We will go from one station to the next without stopping. I am extremely excited to see what the scientists bring up from the bottom of the Bering Sea. Like many of you, the animals also fascinate me.

We were still several hours out from the first station when I came on shift. Some people went to bed and asked to be paged, others, like me, just tried to drink lots of coffee and stayed awake all night to try and shift our waking habits to the opposite of what they were. I went up to the bridge to watch the boat break through the ice around 2 am. We saw the most beautiful ice patterns a person could ever see! We had to back up and ram through a really thick ice floe. We saw pancake ice in all its different stages. I didn’t have my camera, but it was too dark to take pictures anyway. The next time I see it during the daylight hours, I will post a photo and see if you can guess how it forms. We also saw many different textures of ice. That was the best thing I have seen so far!

At about 0530 (5:30 am military time), we came to our first station. I was ready to go! I started watching all the scientists come alive and begin preparations for sending equipment overboard and processing the samples. Everyone was groggy and anxious. They were figuring out the routine for the first time and I think that my questions at 0530 were a little bothersome. I wish better luck for Patty when she comes on shift at noon. Hopefully they will come to another station and things will run smoother.

I ended up watching the frenzy from a deck above the fantail where all the science work takes place. I figured out that it was best for me to stay out of their hair while they worked out the kinks. One of the kinks they encountered was the water budget. The CTD is a device that collects water at different depths and everyone wants some of that water so they can do their own analysis of it. Everyone is analyzing something different about the seawater. Well, someone took too much and another person didn’t get enough for what they needed to do, so they had to take more time to send the CTD over again to collect more water. Hopefully, the scientists will work it out so that this device only has to go overboard one time per station and everyone will get their water.

Since my camera is out of commission and I didn’t borrow one from someone this early in the morning, I don’t have any pictures to share today. But I will work on that. I know that the pictures are a really important part of this story.

It is afternoon and I need to get to bed so I can be ready for my next graveyard shift.
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