October 5, 2016
Now that we’re becoming familiar with each other and with the crew and we’re past the half way mark of the cruise, we’re heading confidently south before we head east again to make shallower CTD rosette casts along the coastal shelf. There’s a feeling onboard, perhaps more from the crew, that we’re on the downhill phase of the cruise. We all get off at Kugluktuk on the 18th and the crew will take the Louis another 9 days through the Northwest Passage back to Iqaluit on Baffin Island where a new crew will come aboard and our new friends will fly home.
Today it was the annual Shrink-a-Cup event. Decorated styrofoam cups get attached to the rosette to go down just above the bottom nearly 2.5 miles below where all that sea pressure reduces them by 80 percent but keeps them remarkably stable. When they come up, they’re stiff as cardboard. All the designs and the words written on them in colored markers are impeccably clear and perfectly readable in miniature. Many of the crew participated in preparing cups for the deep dark journey. Logistics Officer, Nathan Wiffen did a cup for each of his son’s kindergarten classmates back in St. John’s. Nurse Amelie and some of the scientists are incredible drawers putting us non-drawers to shame.
There was a unique opportunity to see the Northern Lights at night when the night watch woke up a bunch of people on the Wake-Me-Up-for-the-Aurora list posted on the lab door. And everyone went out to see the shifting greenish-white aurora on the port side of the ship above the icy waters. The stars lit up the night.
Today everyone ran outside when they heard a plane was circling the Louis. A United States Coast Guard C 130 dropped something in the water with an orange parachute about four miles away. No one really knows what it was; maybe the captain will know.
Tamara has said the only wildlife she’s seen so far is a seagull. On past JOIS trips polar bears and snowy owls have been spotted. Someone mentioned they’d seen a polar bear the other day. How the rumor got going no one is sure. Wishful thinking?
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