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Landing On The Ice

DAY 8 – JULY 11, 2007

No initiation ceremony yesterday, nothing so far today, and I'm beginning to think this is one of those deals where they wake you up in the middle of the night, do bad things, etc... I'm a bit tired of waiting. There's something inherently hilarious about Coast Guard members hazing biological oceanographers (and media) – the contrasts between the two are often palpable. Although more often than not, the CBS people and the Canadian Coast Guard seem to be on the same page. Do with that what you will.

Paul, the helicopter pilot, took us for a ride today, and it was literally unbelievable. The icebergs are gigantic, beautiful, and pretty much candy for Mark. We aggressively scanned the horizon for one flat and strong enough to land on (a calving iceberg is problematic, and could kill you) and were successful.

The downside: we forgot to bring an axe, some on board were expecting iceberg ice, they are upset, and we are unpopular, presently.

We just did a little show and tell with Steve Romaine, a biological oceanographer with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He took us through the intricacies of the rosette – a highly complicated device that collects water samples from a variety of depths (in the thousands of meters). It costs about a quarter of a million dollars and is crucial to this expedition – there'd be almost nothing to do without it. But this is the science of it all – well beyond "the iceberg's melting," there are millions of tests to be run, data to be analyzed, zooplankton to be studied, and so on and so forth. Seeing what's there so you can see how it changes. And for a few hundred thousand dollars, it seems pretty worth it. I torture some of the scientists with loss-of-the-rosette jokes. And I can't believe I actually just typed that.

The sun was still out at midnight last night. It really is something you don't believe happens until you see it – and we all behaved like the suckers we are: taking pictures, checking our watches, etc…

Click here for more about the trip.

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