Sunday, 30 December
Lecture room, 10 a.m. “Can you deploy the corer a bit faster?” – “Sure, we try! One point five down is ok.” Time is in short supply, we are nearly at the northernmost point of our western transect at 62°S. To make good use of the workfree period on New Year’s Eve, we would like to steam eastwards during that time.
That was a few days ago. The urgent requests of the expedition leader have worked wonders in the meantime. At the end of today, we are several hours ahead of schedule. The switching between the different plankton nets is running like clockwork, and when I go on deck after dinner, everything in the benthos team seems to happen all at once. At the stern a whole army of people is busy sieving about 1-2 tons of the finest deep-sea mud from the Agassiz trawl. There is a lot of shoveling, swaying and washing, and laughing eyes are looking at me from mud-smeared faces. An astonishing plethora of large animals is gathered in buckets, I see mostly sea cucumbers, but I am also told about worms and large isopods. What a difference to last night, when we ran the coring instruments, which could not handle the buttery soft sediment and came back on deck either overpenetrated or empty!
Behind the clean Agassiz trawl the epibenthic sledge is already hanging on the hook. We are just steaming to position, and then it will go on its long journey to the deep, an impressing 5200 m down. A little further to the front of the work deck another group of scientists is leaning over the bordwall expectantly. The lander is back, it has not burrowed itself in the sediment for ever, as we had feared after the experiences with the corers. Laughing faces here, too, especially that of Henri, the amphipod specialist who was so unlucky at the beginning of the expedition. Yesterday he had attached some traps to the lander, baited with fish, and now, 24 hours later, he opens them on deck to reveal fish eaten to the bones and a whole variety of very full amphipods crawling around.
In the Wetlab 1 plankton samples are being worked up, and a few doors down the hallway, in the photo lab, the deep-sea video camera is being set up. It will be deployed after the epibenthic sledge to start the last day of the year.
Brigitte Ebbe, Senckenberg
Photos: B. Ebbe
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Tuesday, 01 January 2008 06:58
Polarstern: Good catch in the final run for 2007Written by Polarstern Expedition
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