Saturday, 26 January
Hi, and good morning. Yaaawn... it’s me again, Nils. Yaaaawn... We had a long night here on board FS Polarstern, followed by a cold, wet and stormy morning. Now it is 11 a.m., I am frozen to the bones, my stomach is unhappy about the waves, and I have been on my feet for 27 hours. Well, about that long. I should tell the story from the beginning.
We are on our way home, at a station at 52° southern latitude. Two months ago we have already been here once to take samples. Now, on our way back, we are taking samples again at the same spot to see if anything has changed in the meantime.
Last night we had fine-tuned the gear deployments ahead of us. And then it was already time to start. The first multicorer was sent down to 3,000 m to get sediment cores for oxygen analyses and other studies. While we were watching the sampling, we could see the wind speed increasing slowly. Then, at 2 a.m., a box corer and another multicorer followed.
After all these weeks without darkness south of the Polar circle I was really glad to have a normal dark night. And even though we have had many days of overcast skies, cold air and icy water, and a storm ahead of us, all of a sudden we got a starry sky for a while. And then the moonlight poured a soft, silvery-black shine over the water, making the sea look like the skin of a large lizard. Uncounted shimmering scales on a softly moving velvety blanket. Really beautiful.
At four o’clock we lowered the epibenthic sledge on its 4,500 m-long cable to the water and then to the sea floor. And while we were waiting yet again, the sun rose over a rough sea. A long night and a beautiful morning. Many of us are tired, wet and cold, and the exhaustion lets us freeze quickly in the rough wind. And as the wind has picked up considerably, the waves affect me and some others quite strongly.
The work we do can be rather exhausting, especially when wind and seas are against us. That is part of our job. But when nature around us is as beautiful as during this night, when the sun rises again and wind and waves are turning in a powerful dance, we are delighted and feel rewarded for many hardships. And even though in moments like these we are tired and done with the world, there certainly is no other job on this planet we would rather do.
And now I am going to bed.
Nils Brenke, Senckenberg
Photos: N. Brenke
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Tuesday, 29 January 2008 05:30
... and a last long nightWritten by Polarstern Expedition
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