More polar bears!

Gianna Battaglia, Master student, NOC Southampton, Sunday, 17 June, 2012

We bumped into a polar bear mother and her two cubs this morning. She took them for a piggyback swim towards us. It was unspeakably amazing.

The three polar bear swimming. Photo credit Ian Brown.

The three polar bear swimming. Photo credit Ian Brown.

With these things happening outside, it is quite hard to focus on work or even go to sleep at night. I’d much rather stare into the blue and white all the time.

I am on board to help my Southampton Professor with trace metal sampling and analysis (actually, I am a Swiss Master student and after visiting NOCS for half a year, I was lucky enough to be able fill in for someone who had to miss out on this amazing ride). Of particular interest to us is iron as this element can be a limiting factor for primary production in the surface ocean. Also, so far, not that many people have measured iron in Arctic Waters before, so to shed some light on how this element “behaves” up here will be very interesting. Generally, iron concentrations in the water are very low and since we are located on a ship essentially built of iron, the danger for contamination is quite high. We therefore have to be extremely cautious with sampling and measurements.

To see everybody in action on this ship, working hard and making decisions, is very impressive and oceanography is now certainly very real to me. The effort to generate all the data from the water that is being collected is immense.

We sailed out of the ice towards the edge again today, and tonight is Curry Night.

Midnight sun. Photo credit Gianna Battaglia

Midnight sun. Photo credit Gianna Battaglia

 

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