First day of transect

  • Ours devant glacier Belcher ©EB
  • France et Leonie remontent la bouteille Niskin ©EB

This day begins early: at 2am we bring back the anchor and are heading to Belcher glacier. The swell prevents any rest between our watches and six hours later we end up at the glacier front. A nice brash is breaking down the swell, still strong. If brash and icebergs, then polar bears! Great show this morning: two, then three bears, including one cub, are watching out, standing up on their back legs, looking at each other, moving around. While working on our first station we are also watching them, looking for them and finding them again... When bringing back up the CTD, some grumbles surprise us: walruses, drone? No, one of the bears caught a seal, he is running on the ice holding his prey between his teeth, and the game between the three fellow creatures doesn't look friendly. On board Vagabond, we feel safer than yesterday on the beach...

This was a great way to start again a day which is going to be busy: one transect with nine CTD stations (hydrographic profiles) of whom four with water sampling. For this, we have to integrate, set up and optimize the choreography; so the first station is taking us up to three hours! And it is work for everyone on board. Two people doing the CTD cast then sampling water with the Niskin bottle at three different depths (bottom, maximum chlorophyll and surface). After that, two lab technicians to do the filtering and samplings, manual pumping to filter and eventually two more hands to hold well the funnels and containers in the swell! And we have not to forget the icebergs around while Vagabond is drifting or sailing to the next station. We improve our methods along the day and Eric do the last filtering in less than one hour while we are looking for a shelter in the heavy fog.

It's ten at night when we finally have our supper, happy to be finished with the swell and the transect, and soon enjoying some rest.