July 30, 2018

Poleward bound (a quick goodbye)

After mobilization in Helsingborg, Sweden, I enjoyed a two-week tour of Scandinavia as the Oden’s crew finalized the ship for its steam to Longyearbyen, Svalbard (Norway).

My last stop on the Scandinavian tour was Oslo, Norway, and I enjoyed an afternoon at the Fram Museum, learning about Norwegian polar legends such Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, and the Framitselt.

As I walked around the museum, seeing relics of polar oceanography’s past, my travel companion said, “Our careers are built on all of this history,” which filled me with pride.

Oceanography—ranging from polar seas to the tropics—is a fascinating field of study.

A copper 'Nansen bottle' used to sample water, which is what today's Niskin bottle is based on.

As a scientist and communicator, I hope to tell stories of the upcoming expedition that will fill you with pride as well. 

On the deck of the Fram.
My flight to Longyearbyen will be boarding soon, so wish us luck on the expedition that is nearly underway, and please share the stories of our Arctic adventure.


July 18, 2018

All over again

Last week started out rough.

After Olivia and I were dropped off at the Richmond airport on Sunday, we learned that our instrument weighed 124 lbs. — 24 lbs. over the maximum allowable weight — so we were in trouble.

Me and our luggage and instruments at the Richmond airport.
The airline instructed us to take the instrument to cargo flights and that we could get there via airport shuttle, but the shuttle drivers did not know how to get to cargo and they instructed us to go back to the ticket counter, which was a good thing since cargo is actually closed on Sundays.

At that point we were getting concerned about not having enough time to get through security, so we asked to speak to a manager to sort out or weight issues.

Eventually, I realized that a part of the instrument that weighs ~20 lbs. could be removed from the case, which brought the weight of the case down to 100 lbs. and Olivia had the great idea of buying a small suitcase for the part — crisis averted!

After our two flights, we arrived in Copenhagen without issue, receiving all of our checked luggage and instruments.

Me and our luggage and instruments at the Copenhagen airport.
Getting to the train was also not an issue, since the station was only a minute walk from baggage claim.

Olivia and our luggage and instruments on board the train, crossing the straight into Sweden.
Once we boarded the train it was a 1-hour ride to Helsingborg, during which I enjoyed a nap through the Swedish countryside.

View of the Swedish countryside from the train.
Once we arrived at the train station in Helsingborg, Olivia and I took the elevator up to the bus terminal and we were greeted by familiar faces that we knew from previous expeditions we had been on, and we all waited for the shuttles to the Oden together.

Once we arrived at the Oden we had a quick orientation on board before instruments and supplies began being loaded onto the bow.

Being oriented in the galley on board the Oden.
Video clips from loading the Odenusing its crane.

Taking a break with Paty, the co-chief scientist of the expedition, and Jack and Petey, who I know from a 2013 expedition in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
The following day, our two containers filled with supplies, instruments and spare parts arrived after being stuck in customs for a week.

The rest of the week we spent going over lists and unpacking supplies from various containers, as well as doing some safety training.

Paty pointing to chemicals for my group that have not arrived at the ship yet.
Palette of coolers shipped from the University of Washington, which I moved into the lab van that we’re using.
Evolution of our lab space. Photos taken 1) Tuesday morning, 2) Tuesday evening, 3) Thursday evening.
Video clips from our fire safety training for the expedition.

On Friday last week, all of our equipment was organized and secured on the Oden, and once that labor was done I made a video giving a quick tour of Oden.

A quick tour of the icebreaker Oden.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be taking a holiday in Scandinavia before flying to Longyearbyen and beginning the expedition.

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