5 weeks 3 days
Submitted by Zuzanna Stroynowski on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 00:14
Let me start off by introducing myself-my name’s Zuzia and I’m one of the diatomists onboard this leg of the expedition. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a diatomist does, we look at tiny microscopic algae (diatoms). For this expedition, we’ll use them to tell us where we are in the geological record, along with a whole host of other plankton types or “bugs” (as they are affectionately referred to).
So today is Day 5 at sea and we’re heading into the Unimak Pass, which will bring us through the Aleutian Islands. Everyone’s excited as it’ll be the first and last time we’ll be so close to land for the next 7 weeks, and if the fog doesn’t ruin visibility, we should be able to make out land. This morning there were some whale sightings but I haven’t been so lucky-only puffins and other birdlife. I’ve only ever seen whales from the shore: far, far out to sea, so it’ll make my day to see them out here.
Saying that, this will also mark the end of our easy-going life style, as when the first cores are brought up on deck we’ll all be put through our paces. This is my first time on the JOIDES and my second-ever research cruise so everything is new to me and there’s been so much to learn: from different software systems to toilet flushing methods… equally important I might add.
During transit time we’ve had the opportunity to get to know the other scientists, technicians and staff onboard, exchanging stories and enjoying the stress-free environment. We’re also using this time to get into our timetable: half of the scientists will work through the night (12am-to 12pm) whilst the other half will take over at midday. Luckily I got the day shift so I can lead a near to normal life, although I hear that the night shift is usually much mellower – well, we’ll soon see how it all works.
So that’s it from me for now, *Z*
Zuzanna Stroynowski (pictured on right) joins the JR from the Departamento de Geologia Marinha, INETI, Portugal. Also pictured from the left are Emily Walsh a microbiologist with the Geological Oceanography University of Rhode Island, USA and Heather Schrum an inorganic geochemist at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, USA.