August 30- snow and rough seas

Snow!!! Much rougher seas today! The wind speed went up from 4.1 yesterday to 38.3 m/s today. When I walked out on the helo deck I had to hold on to anything that was around so I wouldn’t fall over. It’s even difficult to walk in the hallways. This is why wearing sandals and slippers in the hallways is strictly prohibited while at sea. You could very easily slip and fall and hurt yourself. We have been very lucky so far with calm seas. The ship is traveling at a slower speed, 10 knots, because of the wind. The wind and weather got progressively worse throughout the day and it started snowing. By late afternoon, an announcement was made over the intercom letting expedition members know they were not allowed to go out on deck for safety reasons.

We are headed for NABOS’s first mooring site which is in the central Laptev Sea between Severnaya Zemlya Island and the New Siberian Islands. There is discussion and differing opinions about where the boundaries are for the different Arctic Seas. This is why longitude and latitude are important for location. The decks are quiet with expedition members choosing to hang out in their cabins. If you sit quietly, it is fun to listen to all the creaking and rumbling. The ship has its own language. She has a hard job navigating rough waters!

Change of plans- due to the rough seas we are changing direction and heading northeast now, instead of southeast, to check on a different mooring. A lot of the planning depends on the weather. Flexibility is so important.

In preparation for our first mooring site, Co-Chief Scientist Rob Rember held a meeting in the main lab today to explain, with the help of Chemical Oceanographer Matt Alkire, proper water sampling techniques. The NABOS research will require a lot of helping hands due to the volume of water that is being collected. We have volunteers from the other science teams that have offered to help. There are different kinds of bottles and techniques used depending on what is being studied. Keeping the bottles and work space as clean as possible is very important because you don’t want contamination to interfere with your research. Contamination could skew the results. The first thing collected are the gases because they are most susceptible to contamination. The gases being collected are methane, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Gases dissolve in water, and there are more gases in cold water than warm water. When the water warms up the gases want to come out, just like when you are opening a soda and the gas is released. While taking the water samples it is important not to have any air bubbles because this would effect the outcome of the testing. We breathe in mostly nitrogen and oxygen. Any water that we get below the surface is going to have a lower oxygen level than the air we breathe. The air could effect the percent of dissolved oxygen being collected. This is why it is important to collect the water samples carefully and correctly.

Breakfast: rice porridge, ham and cheese

Lunch: seafood chowder, pork cutlet, buckwheat, and salad

Tea Time: ham and pea salad, kiwi

Dinner: stewed beef, pasta, pickled beets, and salad