"I was on deck until 3:30am, and then back up at 6am," said with a heavy sigh as Lisa Eisner was working with me on deck with her phytoplankton chambers. A kink in the outflow water hose was holding her up, and with some extra muscle, we were able to get her back going again. Despite the lack of sleep, however, her enthusiasm was still evident, as I had to keep up with her as she returned back inside the ship.
Similar sentiments were shared by the zooplankton team, of which my bunkmate for the trip, Atsushi, returned very late our first evening at sea. Although I went to sleep at midnight, I do not know when he returned to the rack. When he opened the door, I stirred, and a tinge of guilt ran through me. He along with his colleagues, Russ Hopcroft, Alex Poje, and Caitlin Smoot all put in a hard day's work sampling volumes and volumes of water for their zooplankton samples.
I awoke at 0500 and sure enough, I was greeted by Seth Danielson, Russ, and Atsushi. The four of us. In the computer/electronics lab, a ship-based scientific monitoring station, Russ and I shared coffee and even though I knew he was tired, I could not believe his energy. I could not help but laugh when he mentioned that, "only the strong survive zoops." I can understand why he would say that.
Each section of sampling was putting in the hours, thrilled to see early results like in Mike Lomas' group using a new FlowCam instrument that was yielding beautiful assortments of microzooplankton in real time from samples obtained from the CTD rosette. I later learned that he and his lab had developed the early concepts of the instrument and that Bigelow Laboratory has the patent on something similar.
As for me, the first sampling station was a learning experience. Putting away the laptop, GoPros, and cameras, I was lucky enough to participate in the initial sampling of the CTD casts by retrieving nutrient samples for Seth. The entire research team has been nothing but supportive of me these past couple days, and are already warming up to the camera offering candids. Some have even forgotten that I am there, so I am seeing the raw joy, excitement, and love for science without it being artificial. But what I found most rewarding, was Seth giving me and Kofan Lu, another ocean physics team member, the responsibility to collect nutrient samples. It has been a long time since I have been an active participant of science, and knowing that I contributed to the greater whole of the Arctic Program and its five-year legacy, was a joyous moment for me.
At 0600 this morning as we approached the second sampling location, I could not help but notice the folks assigned to the CTD casts were not as jazzed as I was. It was after all, 0600, and folks like Dean Stockwell, Lisa, and Jeff Krause have done hundreds of samples from a CTD rosette. But just to see if I could pass along some of my enthusiasm (even at 0600) I began singing Stayin' Alive. I knew I had to wait for it to sink in just a little bit, and wouldn't you know, I think I could hear either Mike or Jeff humming it as they were walking back into the Main Lab.
The first sampling location completed in 10 hours, the same time that Seth budgeted for each station. The second station was completed around 1pm or 2pm, shaving around 2 hours of sampling time. As a result, we were able to attempt additional multi-core samples for sediment. Although we were encapsulated by a thick fog around the ship with only 300m of visibility at best, I think both crew and scientists felt the importance of this sampling station as it lays off the eastern shore about 7 nautical miles from St. Lawrence Island, home to Gambell and Savoonga village communities.