Part 8: Engineers are amazing

It’s been an exciting few days, with things on board being broken more often than not.

This didn’t just include the scientific equipment and winches used to lift them, but also the rear thrusters (or something equally important sounding and useful) for moving the ship. We were stuck in quite thick ice for a bit while that was being fixed, but then got into even thicker ice trying to reach the planned stations. I was loving life and the prospect of having to stay longer in the arctic just enjoying ourselves, but a few people seemed to get a little bit worried, and after we went a super long way round to get out the ice, I heard that we will not be adventuring that far in again. Cry.

To make these things even more fun, we were out of range of the one satellite that I’m using now to send this. Also, my laptop has broken, so I can’t send anymore nice photos until I hit it in the right place and it starts working again. This is particularly annoying because yesterday was a beautiful clear day, with a midnight sun, a freezing sea, and glistening pancake ice. There is an (I suspect mythical) IT guy on board, but I have only had one sighting of him this whole trip. He has never appeared at meals, or in the crew mess, so I can only assume he is a robot. I will keep trying.

Science wise, the bongo nets that I use are simple and so the one bit of kit that hasn’t broken. I’ve managed to do all my feeding experiments fine, except having to end one just a day earlier than planned. The winch for the CTD has been playing up, and there have been cable problems, but we’re up and running again now. The winch is kind of essential, as the CTD weighs about 800kg and has a great habit of bursting the lungs of people it careens into. At the moment, it’s the ARISE coring equipment that is broken (check out or for more information about their work), but the engineers have fixed like 50 problems by now so I have full faith in them.

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