Thursday, March 3, 2011

Packing, Preparing and Waiting.

After arriving late last night into Juneau, today was a full day, packing, preparing and now, waiting. You  can prepare for months, even years, for a science expedition, but one thing you cannot predict is the weather. A very unusual spate of high winds has hit the Juneau area, which means our research vessel is stuck in Petersberg, its homeport (~150 miles south) unable to come and collect us on Monday as planned. So for now, we're all on standby, and hope we're not delayed by more than a day or two. 

Today I went down to the Auke Bay Laboratory, to catch up with Bob Stone and start to get chemicals and equipment together and packed. It's been a busy day, but we've accomplished a lot already, most of the chemicals are diluted and aliquoted, and most of the science equipment is packed. Tomorrow we'll finish up the last of the chemicals, go through diving gear and hopefully get a lot of the equipment down to the docks in Juneau, so as soon as our boat arrives, we'll be ready to go. 

Here are some photos of the day. 

View from the Auke Bay Laboratory. Despite a cloudy morning, the sun came out in the afternoon, highlighting the mountains. Auke Bay is a protected bay north of Juneau, so although the winds were blowing in the south, here it was mostly calm on the water. 

Starting to get gear together and packed. It's important not to forget anything, as once we pull out of the dock, we have to make do! 

Another thing I got to do today was check in and sample the live corals we have growing in the flowing seawater laboratory. These are corals Bob and Jennifer collected in December, and they're doing great! 

A close up of our study organism - Primnoa pacifica

This beautiful pearlescent skeleton is the reason many of these species are called 'Precious Corals' and have been harvested for jewelry and ornaments. These corals grow very very slowly, so a few inches of this beautiful skeleton could equal tens or even hundreds of years of growth. Collection of these corals in many places is now banned, as they grow so slowly, they could never recover from the damage caused. 

The weather was so beautiful this afternoon we went on a quick trip to the Mendenhall Glacier after work. Stunning, and so different from September when I was last here. This is a tidewater glacier, meaning the glacier hits the lake - only this time of year the lake has 3ft of ice on top, so it looks like the glacier ends up on land! 

1 comment:

  1. I think you don't want the people to know the truth, I have a piece of this coral which laid out in a fan of over 4 feet and at the base it was 20mm x 30mm and only ten, yes 10 years old by it's rings, not hundreds of years old, only 10 years old just like the rings on a tree. Tell the truth and quit trying to lock everything up.