7 weeks 2 days
Beyond the islands
Submitted by Christian Marz on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 12:29
It's 5:15 am right now, and I will be heading for lunch in a few minutes. Nearly all scientists are on shift by now, and for me this means going to bed around 4 pm and getting up around 11 pm to be ready for the beginning of my shift at midnight. This basically means that there are two groups of scientists who will only meet for some hours around midnight and around noon for the next 7 weeks. On one hand this is sad, but on the other hand necessary to be able to process the core material that will hopefully be arriving continuously from the sea floor. We expect the first core to arrive on deck in about 24 hours, and this will be a great moment for all of us! Then we will find out if all the preparation we did so far were really worth the effort. We feel pretty well prepared right now, but this might change when we are facing the first load of mud from the sea floor...
Looking out of the window, I mostly see coulds and fog, and this weather will probably stay with us for most of the time. Sadly, we crossed the Aleutian Islands during night - still, when the "sun rose" (we don't really see it), we could catch a glimpse of a glaciated island, hundreds of birds circling around the ship and even some whales! I doubt that we will get good pictures of them, as they are just as grey as the sea around us, anyway it reminds us that there is a lot of action and life beneath us. The Bering Sea is known to be one of the most productive regions of the world oceans, and famous for its fisheries.
By the way, I am sailing as a sedimentologist on this expedition. We will be the first ones to see what noone has ever seen before: The open core sections filled with all types of mud containing incredible amounts of different information about the climate development of the Bering Sea. What exactly we will be doing with this sediment, I will tell you next time - now I am hungry and off for lunch!
Have a great day and all the best