Day the Last: Woo, Science!

Coordinates: 68.58 N, 105.27 W

Well, we’re done, more or less – we’re currently deploying the rosette for our last station of this leg of the expedition. I’ve recorded some of the scientists on board celebrating this (which you can hear above) – despite all the difficulties, everyone’s still cheering for science. We leave the ship in two days, on Thursday, in the Nunavut village of Kugluktuk, after which we’ll disperse across the country – to Québec, to Manitoba, to Nova Scotia, to the west coast. The ship is in full demobilization mode now, and there are once more boxes stacked in the corridors, and we’re once more looking for wrenches. In a few days there will be no more bright cold windy mornings on the bow, no smell of salt, no ice, more night. It seems many of us are looking forward to seeing family/friends/partners/children/dogs and doing very everyday things like eating a salad or riding a bicycle, but we’ll also maybe miss the Arctic, the sounds of the ship, and the endless horizons. I think many of us will also miss the community of kind people that’s developed on the Amundsen over the past weeks – both the crew, with their “certaine fierté gaspésienne” , to borrow a phrase from one of the engineers, and the scientific team, brought together by parallel similar struggles. Right now, the prospect of leaving this island up north to re-enter an urban world of automobile traffic and ever-present advertising seems rather daunting.

But, meanwhile, there is plenty to do before that happens, and, in any case, what feels like a momentous occasion to us really isn’t one at all – several of the scientists are staying on board for the ship’s return trip from Kugluktuk to Québec, and there’s a full team of scientists and crew meeting us in Kugluktuk to take our place. The Amundsen sails waters all around the world all year round – she once passed through the Panama Canal, guided by a local rowboat, which must have been a sight to see – and she’ll be here long after we’re safe and sound and south.

Meanwhile, the expedition portion of this blog is wrapping up. I’d like to sincerely thank my supervisor Dr. Tortell for conceiving of it and allowing me to play with it, and to thank everyone who contributed photos and words, as well as the crew of the Amundsen and all the kind people involved in this year’s GEOTRACES expedition. An extra special thanks goes to our wonderful land-based correspondent, Tortell lab member Robert Izett, who dealt with all the formatting, uploads, downloads, and my sending him bits of media at very slow connection speeds at random hours of the day and night. Finally, thank you for reading about our adventures.

Though the expedition is over, I will be posting several other things to this blog as they are prepared – we brought back some wonderful photos, videos and interviews with us. Watch this corner of the web for an interview with the ship’s captain, a striking video about a rosette, a conversation with an Arctic phytoplankton researcher, and more!


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