Day 19: Icebergs are AMAZING!
One of the coolest things about scientific fieldwork is that you find yourself in far-off lands and foreign environments, and you can never anticipate how these places will surprise you. Today, after weeks of not seeing… well, much of anything, the Southern Ocean offered up two amazing icebergs. Thanks to the kindness of our Captain and Chief Scientist, who were willing to deviate from the ship’s course and our sampling schedule, everyone on board got a very close look at both icebergs. Despite the extreme cold, many people stood outside for quite a while reveling in the awesome view: waves crashed around the base of the icebergs and churned up slushy debris, the intense turquoise of the ice stood out from the gray sea and sky, and the bottom of the icebergs glowed faintly below the surface. Only about 10% of an iceberg’s entire mass is above water, so it’s difficult to calculate how large the underwater portion is – and important that ships don’t get too close.
As in many professions, scientists log hours inside, in the lab and in an office, but they also spend time doing research in interesting places. While the hours in the field can be long, and sometimes uncomfortable, these places usually offer up spectacular scenery, which is another reason why science rocks.
Most of today’s writing time was spent staring at icebergs, so I leave you with the movie and these photos – science returns tomorrow. I also suggest listening to the recent RadioLab short featuring Bigelow researcher Dr. Willie Wilson discuss why the world needs phytoplankton.
Steaming past the first iceberg of the day.
Tip of the first iceberg.
Approaching the second iceberg of the day.