We left the RRS James Clark Ross yesterday, jumping onto the (mostly not) dry land that is Svalbard and almost immediately going on a four-hour hike to stretch our legs. Leaving was a little sad – the ship has been sold and this is her final season with the British Antarctic Survey. After the crew offered us all an hour and a half engine rooms tour last week, I really had come to appreciate what a unique feat of engineering she is.
The cruise was a success: I completed 19 grazing incubations using water and copepods from across the Fram Strait. It was pretty tough working 24 days straight without a day off, but totally worth it to collect this data. As I’m now safely on dry land, I think it is okay to say that nothing went wrong! I was one of the lucky ones too. I got copepods from the first activity at each station, at 11pm, and water from a midnight CTD. This meant my activities were always on a fixed schedule, and so my shift pattern was regular, unlike most people on board who had hours all over the place.
I am also lucky enough to have a lovely friend who is doing a PhD at UNIS in Longyearbyen, where we disembarked. For the next week, I’ll be catching up with my work in her office in a beautiful building overlooking the fjord. Today, I ate lunch while watching BEULGAS just chilling right by the shore, and talking with one of the scientists who has been researching copepods for years and whose work I’ve read repeatedly. Life is great here.
I’ll be back with the ship in Aberdeen next week to get all the stuff off and taken back to Southampton. Looking forward to fun with dry ice trying to keep my samples at -80oC and seeing most people again a final time.