It’s hard to believe my 6 weeks aboard the Amundsen have come to an end and that I’m sitting in my office back at U of Toronto. I’ve reintegrated back into society with mixed feelings – I miss the allure of the Arctic and those on board but am thrilled to see family and friends again, as well as fresh fruit. All in all it was a successful voyage. We managed to keep our instruments working for the majority of the 6 weeks and have obtained extremely unique data sets. There will certainly be plenty of collaboration and exciting analysis over the next 12 months – stay tuned!
Fortunately demobilization went smoothly – we had to pack up two labs to make space for other scientists coming on board for Leg 2. It sounds simple, but the equipment is heavy and some of the packing cases can’t fit through the narrow doors on the Amundsen. The hardest part was transporting my equipment from the Forward Filtration Lab (1 deck below at the front of the ship) to the storage container (1 deck above at the back of the ship). We couldn’t just carry the cases as they were too heavy and bulky for the narrow corridors/stairs. So the First Officer had the idea of using a crane to lift the cases onto the barge (see picture), and then drive the barge around to the back of the ship where they lifted them back on deck using another crane. It was a little surreal watching all the expensive equipment my PhD depends on dangling over the Arctic Ocean. Nonetheless, the Coast Guard are very good at what they do and the whole process took less than an hour for my 5 cases.
Two days later we were all transported off the boat in Kugluktuk, NU. Since there is no harbour, everyone and everything had to be brought ashore with the helicopter which gave us the chance to where these bright yellow immersion suits (see picture). We also had to opportunity to hike around Kugluktuk for several hours. It felt great to be on solid ground and not restricted to the same 100 metres we had been confined to for six weeks! However, having said that, I would jump at the chance to go back.
-Greg Wentworth, NETCARE Graduate Student