S 34° 33’ 51″ E 31° 01’ 48″ – Every day around dawn the Hespérides pauses in its 5,000 nautical mile journey. It does not begin again until mid-afternoon, when its researchers have slaked their thirst for samples with a bewildering variety of bottles and nets. Yet every day scientists ask one another a mysterious question: “Can I have some of your water, please?”
S 34° 50’ 20.6″ E 27° 32’ 18.8″ – The first working day of this leg of the Malaspina expedition began with the splash of a Neuston net into the black water on the starboard side of the Hespérides before dawn on Sunday. The bosun, another operations officer, and a handful of technicians and scientists wearing life vests and helmets stood watch with arms folded under the warm yellow running lights of the ship. They were waiting in the rich wet air for a fine mesh net, hanging behind the two metal pontoons of the skate, to fill with creatures of the night. Continue reading
I decided last night to join the 4:30am Neuston net team and the 5:00am Conductivity-Temperature-Depth rosetta deployment. These are gangly-looking devices the size of a go-kart and a Madrid street recycling bin, respectively.
My sea legs weren’t that great yesterday. I wobbled a lot and hit the wall sometimes while walking down corridors. My stomach, luckily, is doing much better–no problems at all and I sleep like a brick. Continue reading
It’s early June in the Austrian Alps. Tourists in shorts sweat their way up a trail from the cable car above Lake Hallstatt. But the summer heat doesn’t stop a group of scientists from pulling on brightly colored jumpsuits over their hiking clothes at the entrance to Mammuthohle, one of the many limestone caves that riddle the Dachstein Massif. Lukas Plan, a geophysicist at the University of Vienna, straps on his headlamp and pauses to warn the crowd of researchers about the cave they are about to enter. It won’t just be chilly inside, he cautions; it will be an Alpine meat locker.
The crowd, part of the fourth international ice cave workshop organized by a network of European geophysicists and glaciologists, is gathered to visit the cave’s year-round ice formations.
Plan turns toward the tunnel in the mountainside and opens the metal door. A rush of wind bursts out. The group prepares to enter, hoping to read the history of the region’s climate in the cave’s ice.