August 19- Farthest north

We woke up to a windy cooler day! This is an exciting day for me. It is the farthest north I have ever been. To give you an idea of how far north we are, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska is 70˚25’. We have now hit 72˚N in the Barents Sea. The Barents Sea is named after Dutch navigator William Barents (1550-1597).

Another whale was spotted this morning. After consulting The Arctic Guide (Sharon Chester), general consensus is it is probably a Northern Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrara, meaning “sharp-nosed winged whale”. Minke comes from an 18th century Norwegian whaler. The whales range from 10-11 m. (32-35 ft), and weigh 9,200 kg (20,000 lb). Now, to try to identify some of the birds that have been following the ship!

We had a hitchhiker for a while (see photo). We are not experts but we think it may be a Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus, meaning “shorebird with a sickle-shaped bill tip”. These birds are known to nest in the Kola Peninsula, close to where the ship is now, before migrating south.

The water has turned from a brown to brownish green to a dull turquoise.Water is like a chameleon, it changes colors depending on where it is and what is in the water. The water was brown when we were docked in Arkhangelsk, Russia partially due to degraded plants and soil. As we left Arkhangelsk, the water started showing a green tint to it caused by the presence of phytoplankton. Now, it is a dull turquoise because there aren’t as many nutrients in the water effecting the color.

It was foggy for a while this evening, with minimal visibility, before clearing up to allow us a glimpse of Novaya Zemlya (New Land). German and Russian crews are busy setting up labs in preparation for the mooring sites. We are approximately two days away from our first mooring site. And, then the fun begins!

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out the student data I gather each day! You can find it here. 

Breakfast: sunny-side eggs, bacon, bread and butter

Lunch: Solyanka soup- meat and olives, lasagna, purple cabbage coleslaw, mixed green salad

Tea Time: cabbage rolls

Dinner: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and salad

Our recent hitchhiker- probably a Broad-billed Sandpiper, Calidris falcinellus, scrounging for food on the helo deck.

The water changed color again and is now a dull turquoise.

A Russian scientific team member concentrating on lab preparation.

A German scientist preparing the Niskin bottles for the rosette.