October 21, 2019: Sea sickness medication is distributed.
We reached the first station in the morning and, as predicted, with a heavy storm. Some were prepared for it, some were caught by surprise. Medicine was distributed to everyone in need. The morning meeting went fast! All work on deck stopped for safety reasons and an alternative program started after breakfast. The data quality of the sub-bottom profiling system onboard RV Kronprins Haakon is excellent and we mapped the area of the diapir structure on the southern tip of Vestnesa Ridge. ( A diapir is a domed rock formation in which a core of rock has moved upward to pierce the overlying strata. It is often found around gas hydrates)
I had almost forgotten the fact that massive gas hydrates have been found two years ago! So, we made some extra efforts to find the right location for the Piezometer. In the meantime, I have become the “stair master”. Jumping back and forth from Deck 3 to 9, and back again to my cabin (Deck 6), and finally on Deck 3 again. 10 times a day. I don’t need a gym, that’s for sure. My preferred activity is to check the weather (wind) conditions. We waited all day long for the right conditions, and if the weather is not acceptable by 11 pm, we will have to abandon the station and sail towards the north.
October 22, 2019: 150,000 years, pulled up in one core
Luckily, we stayed in position! We could finish the CTD (a collection of sensors which measure conductivity, temperature, and pressure of ocean water) before the beginning of the new day. Of course, the cruise leader has his cabin above the CTD lab, and hence moved his bedroom out on the bridge 😊. Our French colleagues worked hard the whole night and successfully launched the Piezometer at the seafloor.
Now, the whole team is excitingly awaiting the first core material. It will be a rush of people on deck! Hopefully we will manage to get the first Calypso core onboard. We have prepared a 23 m long steel pipe. It has been laying on deck for the last 2 days and looks like a big chunk of ice. Cold wind, freezing temperatures, and the sea water have converted the corer into an ice block. There goes another hour from our precious ship time.
But we were awarded! Four multicorer tubes and a 13 m long Calypso core came onboard during the afternoon. Two multicorer tubes went straight into the laboratories to prepare the samples for the ancient DNA work at the University of Bergen. The remaining two tubes were archived. The Calypso was of course the highlight of the day! Thanks to great teamwork on deck, we received 13 m of core material representing the last ca. 150.000 years. Now, we are heading north into the sea ice. We are to see the first ice flows tomorrow morning.