Reykjavik – - end of cruise
It is only a day or so since we sent in the last blog, by Sophie, but it seems like a different world already. Then we were still on the cruise, just about to start the last CTD – and still recovering from the surprise of seeing a humpback whale breaching and rolling repeatedly (there is a theory that it was paid by the Icelandic tourist board). Now we are on a half empty ship sitting in port.
To recap, what has happened is that we did indeed do the last CTD, on Sunday evening – in the Denmark strait between Iceland and Greenland. After that we had the traditional end of cruise party. It is traditional at these events to say what a splendid cruise it has been and to thank the captain and crew for their unstinting support. On this occasion it was entirely heartfelt.
On Monday we steamed slowly in toward Reykjavik over almost eerily calm water. However, we were far calm, as boxes were extracted from the hold, and we set to work dismantling our scientific nests, curating our samples and packing everything up. We took a bit of a break to watch as we entered Reykjavik and then did a bit of exploring in the evening. Today we finished off our packing and dismantling, returning the ship’s lab areas to the spartan state we found them in a few weeks ago, whilst piles of filled crates were winched onto the dock and into containers to be shipped back to Southampton.
So now, sadly, we are ready to disperse, with the crew continuing on their next cruise (except Mango who is flying home as soon as possible to meet his new son), and the scientists heading back to the UK, after a few days in Iceland. After that the real work will begin for many of us, as we analyse the pile of samples we have collected, synthesise the resultant data, integrate our data with the other datasets, and finally start to see what the results mean. Then in January we will reconvene in the Antarctic for the third and final major cruise of the UK Ocean Acidification Programme.
It has been a special experience for all of us taking part in this cruise and we have been very lucky to have had the opportunity. We have enjoyed producing the blog and using it to share some of the amazing experiences we have had. We also hope the blog has helped some people to get an insight into what marine scientists do – whether or not you knew any of us beforehand.