23 July 2007

Oceanographic Data

Yesterday we went out in the bay to do some fieldwork and collect oceanographic data. It was a typical weather day for this area, soggy. Our orange mustang safety suits were drenched from the rain as we visited station after station (as marked only by coordinates). The morning was so foggy that we navigated solely by GIS as the landmarks were completely absent from sight. My boss had told me not to worry about bring warm gear as the mustang suits would keep us plenty warm. I am ever so glad I ignored her advice. Her son, along because all of our eager interns were on a trip somewhere, had followed her advice and was distinctly cold and rather miserable. I would have offered him up my gloves but they clearly wouldn’t have fit him.

Despite the wetness, we were rewarded at the end of our survey with our last two sites being quite close up to this massive calving glacier. The boom of ice calving off it in chunks reverberated through the landscape creating distinctive wakes. It is awe inspiring to be in the presence of a calving glacier in the absence of human made sounds. It is humbling to watch geology in action. Chunks of ice larger than our boat crashed down & we kept our eye out for nearby icebergs – these have a tendency to roll and we didn’t want one rolling over on top of us. After we pulled up the last of the equipment we stood rain soaked on the deck, watching the glacier calve amongst the harbor seals hauled out on bergs and sea otters floating along past, tucked up in sleep.

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