It has been a busy few days getting the analysers working and calibrated. It is always the same when an expensive and highly sensitive bit of electronics is taken from its home laboratory where it is working perfectly after weeks of preparation and put into a crate and shipped out to a new laboratory on a ship or like ours – to a lab in the arctic. The instrument seems to develop a mind of its own and will not join in the fun. I have been using instrumentation at sea and on land based research projects for many years and have never had something work properly first time. Luckily we have had a few days to sort out any faults and I’ve had a few that have made me sit down and read a manual, not an ideal approach. Anyway all is well now and calibrations are successfully completed, and both Frances and myself can relax a little as we begin routine mesocosm sampling.
We have to help all the other EPOCA scientists with the sampling and boat driving as this is very much a team effort and we were issued with our survival suits in preparation. We had safety talks regarding boat operations in waters that are very close to freezing and what to do in the event of engine failure. There are up to five sampling boats out at most times so there will is a lot of backup support. We will also have to take turns doing an ice-watch, looking out for ice floes that break off the two glaciers in the fjord and heading out to sea. Luckily it is 24 hour daylight so they will be easy to see and if they look like they are going to head for the mesocosms then we can send a boat out to move them. It going to get a lot busier for us but the German team have already been working flat out for a week setting the whole infrastructure up.
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