Archive for October 17th, 2010
There was no Sunday morning lie-in on ship, no newspaper delivery and no tea in bed. Instead some more sampling! A 4am start for me, starting the underway sampling for the day. Then the CTD’s and plankton nets were in full flow by 4.30am. I’m not sure if they were hallucinating but Raff and Neil claimed they saw a shark around the nets. I certainly didn’t see it, but I think I’d have needed stronger match sticks to get my eyes fully open at that time! This was by far my earliest morning so far, and I reminded myself how grumpy I can be before breakfast. So keeping my head down I got on with work, counting down the minutes until my stomach would be filled with hot porridge- my new morning favourite.
The ocean swell has certainly picked up, offering a subtle reminder that I can’t leave my laptop out unattached to the bench. After lunch we have the solar noon CTD cast… at which point I think my head had been completely unscrewed- this was not a good start to the afternoon. However, the sun came out lifting spirits throughout the ship. The temperature is steadily rising as we head further south. I’m certainly not complaining.
My filtering in the afternoon was incredibly inefficient. It felt like I was doing everything twice over as I kept forgetting things. Having removed myself from the lab to give myself a stern talking to “get your head screwed back on Ella”, on my return I was found by the Captain, Peter Sarjean.
“The sun is shining, this would be a fantastic opportunity to get you started using a sextant.”
“Errr, ok. I can be free in an hour once the samples have run.”
So I got my filtering done, grabbed a can of coke to keep my eyes open, and was on my way to the Masters office. What had I let myself in for!?
For those who don’t know a sextant is an ‘old fashioned’ instrument used for navigation, before the times of GPS! It uses the angle between two visible objects to determine a position, usually the horizon line and a celestial object (sun by day, stars by night). Later in the day you would repeat this to get a second reading. Or at night use another star. There’s a lot of theory behind the instrument, equations, tables, and many acronyms… something I hadn’t quite prepared myself for. However, after some diagrams and explanations I felt like I was starting to understand the concepts behind this instrument. It was great to get outside and use it. I was especially pleased when my Index Error was the same as the captains the day before- I seemed to be doing ok. Although in saying that we didn’t take a position and managed to avoid all the maths for today. This was a thoroughly enjoyable end to my afternoon, especially hearing some of the Captains stories, which for now I shall leave for him to reveal in his blog entry coming later! But most of all I am thoroughly appreciative to the Captain for taking the time to teach me.
Just before I wrap up for the weekend- remember I mentioned the butterflies. I have been informed (thanks Hugh!) that these Red Admiral butterflies were leaving the UK migrating to France. The recent easterly winds blew them off track. I guess that’s all part of nature.
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Sunday, 17th Oct, 2010