Out At Sea – An Update

I have internet access! It’s very patchy, but seems to like it when we are closer to the coastline. I wish I could upload pictures, but we are very restricted on the amount of traffic on this connection (it’s slow anyway, so they try to limit anything else that might slow it further), so they’ll have to wait. I’ve seen a lot of bird wildlife; gannets, fulmars, terns, auklets, kittiwakes, gulls, and even a sea eagle this morning. No sign of any marine mammals yet, but we are heading out to the Atlantic soon. At the moment I am somewhere between Scotland and Ireland, I’ve included a map of the cruise track for reference.

See the star with the 1 in it? That’s where I’ll be tomorrow. That’s Mingulay Reef, where we’ll be collecting some samples. We’ll also be starting some experiments to expose the natural community of microbes to different CO2 levels. The aim of this cruise, for me at least, is to see how different communities that are acclimatised to different environments will react to ocean acidification.

It’s been a busy few days, I was up at 3am today and it’s a 2am start tomorrow. There is a lot to do, and the learning curve is steep, but it’s been so exciting thus far that I don’t mind. I’m getting used to the rocking of the boat… Yesterday was beautiful, we had clear blue skies and calm seas so it felt more like being on an airplane. Today the skies got angrier and the water choppier, so there has been a lot more rocking. Just trying to balance yourself takes it out of you, and tests your technical abilities as a scientist! Trying to accurately measure out liquids, for example, takes on a whole new level… But I haven’t fallen over yet. I spent most of the day getting everything ready for my analyses tomorrow, so now that I’ve eaten, I can just wind down for the day and make sure I’ve had enough sleep before 2am comes.

I’ll update you guys when I can, I’ll see if I can get a weekly entry in! I’m off to shower and get tucked into my little bed in my cabin (and I mean little). Hopefully tomorrow will bring blue skies and lots of good data (I hope).

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