Friday, August 25, 2017

8/25: Polarlys Headed to Tromso

The good news is that we made our connections and are now headed south to Tromso aboard the MS Polarlys (description below). Winds are now blowing a near-gale in Ingoy so it was good that we headed when we did. I asked Ann whether there was a fear of the ferry service canceling the small boat's trip to Hammerfest and she assured me it would be fine, explaining "they are only concerned when they can't see where they are going in the big wind and that is only in winter." Good enough for me...though I was a bit concerned when each of us had to say our names into a microphone on board the small boat in rough seas...

The kind folks at the 'Polar Bear Society' in Hammerfest took pity on us when we arriver with 2 hours to spare in the rain and allowed us to store gear in their staff room. So, what could have been a nightmare was just really unpleasant in moving all of our stuff from ferry terminal to ferry terminal (we will live). Accordingly, we all have clothes hanging to dry in our little cabin on the "Hurti-." From here on it is checking in to flights and getting ready to endure the longest day possible while flying with the sun on Saturday. It is nice to get to Boston at 6:30 pm but...

Check out the maps of the Polarlys and our route back to Tromso below plus a quick video showing how the fast ferry travels a little more nimbly but bumpier than the Hurti...

This was our 'fast ferry' boat, the Arøy, as taken 2 years ago when the weather outside was nice for taking pictures...not so today in the wind and rain. 

To give you an idea of the sway, I did take this video fresh this morning from the dry inside of the fast ferry. 

Straight from the Hurtigruten website, our boat, the Polarlys and its path south: 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

8/24: Heading south on the 06:30 tomorrow

Today marks the last day in the field for 2017 on Ingoya. By this time tomorrow I will be updating from the Hurtigruten with hours to occupy as we steam toward Tromso and begin the journey home. The last water samples were collected this morning, cores were packaged, and gear is almost squared away. All that is left is to eat an eclectic dinner, make note of food we plan to leave for future trips, and prepare all personal items for a 4:30 wake up and scoot out the door. Winds will be blowing near gale by midday tomorrow but hopefully we are on a big boat by then.

Last look at the Sjohus next to the sea

Final trip out with the 'mystery machine'

8/23b: Dawn of Coring

Here's a quick update with a bit of first person perspective on percussion coring: 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

8/23: Percussion yields a slight improvement but sand unit proves impenetrable

View from the top of the tripod, looking down a Livingston drive-rod. These are what we push the core tube down into the sediment with. These are great for shallow to mid-depth lakes (and could be used greater depths with many rods) but we often turn to climbing rope and weight for larger lakes and ponds. 

"I am almost certain this is the top"

How to Percussion Core: 
Step 1

Step 2 
In percussion coring, you are literally wailing on the top of the core tube to drive it into the sediment. There are many different types of percussion coring setups but our more 'organic' setup worked rather well today. Large rock + core tube over shallow lake...

Using a large slab of Norwegian Wood as the top of a percussion corer (not what Lennon-McCartney were thinking)
Mike is not a crook!

Using the Livingstone corer and piston, we are able to take multiple cores out of the same hole so long as we case it with a piece of large PVC. This way we are able to take a very deep core using only 1-2.5 m core tubes each drive. To fish the second core down into the casing (above), I had to use my feet to guide it in...hence the waders.

Note how wet I've gotten after emerging from the coring 'basement.' At this point, Mike is giving it all the weight and I am in charge of the vibra-coring apparatus.
No joke, found the drive rod for the portable concrete vibrator in the pond-muck after we lost it yesterday....only took 25 min of pacing the pond and praying.

Here is a short video Maddie took while I danced across the sediment-water interface.

Western-stance with core (foreground), Havoysund (background).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

8/22: Just flew in from coring...

After much preparation and planning for a break in the weather, we finally got mud on our hands today…which is a good thing. The day started with drinking coffee and drilling aluminum core tubes and by lunch we had full command of the ‘mystery machine’ to head off to the radio tower and lug the last of our gear in to the pond. The pressure was on because now, the science was only waiting on us. 

Hopefully the photos/videos and captions speak for themselves for now and I can update the in-between once my arms don’t feel like I ‘double-poled’ a 50k skate race and my face doesn’t feel like I stared at the sun for 24 hrs, determined to see an eclipse. Our engineering worked, we didn’t tip the raft, and we got mud. There is further to go and we have some innovation planned for tomorrow but for now, hopefully there aren’t too many miles to go before I sleep…

I have asked many times if there was maybe another way we could transport the core tubes...there is apparently not. 

Pre-coring fuel-up

Mike and Maddie ready the tripod for initial fitting

Turns out the tripod is tall once it is on the boat so we utilized a different technique for reaching it

Securing the tripod legs to avoid mishaps when using the block and tackle. The suction of 8-10 ft of core tube in stiff sediment takes a significant amount of force to break. We decided the locals would not appreciate a flag pole in the middle of their pond.
Hauling Mike and the coring raft into the middle of the pond with the small boat "MS Baby-Fun" (you can see it if you zoom in on the side of the little boat). There is an entire GoPro video of me cracking up while towing Mike out that I will be processing shortly.

Going high to load-test the tripod.

Going low, bottom-of-the-pond low, to get the core.

Ain't it a thing of beauty...

I now see where my son gets that face while exploring new and exciting things in the world. 

Leaving the raft anchored overnight and returning tomorrow morning. Note: the two cores go together to make one longer core consisting of two separate drives. This is what required me to go benthic in the photo above...

Hiking out amongst the cloud berries...

Caught stuffing my face amongst the cloud berries. 

Typical morning commute

Monday, August 21, 2017

8/21: No eclipse here but ready to core.

Dragging the coring raft to the field site as the rain picks up. 

Mainers can appreciate travel logistics in Norway because there are often no roads that go from point A to B and when there are, they wrap around a fjord or mountain. Nebraskans would hate that there are no straight lines on the maps but be heartened by the lack of trees. Today’s goal revolved around assembling coring gear and getting it ready to start moving toward the field site, a small pond that is about an hour hike from the Sjohus that isn't really accessible by boat or van but close for each…so we chose both! I will explain.

Having overlooked the fine print, Mike sees the crucial flaw in ordering the 2-dimensional float tubes. 
Lake sediment coring is easiest done from an ice covered surface but even though winter is coming, it ain’t here, so we built a raft. The raft was made from a whitewater boat from the company AIRE but we left the rowing platform at home due to new carry-on luggage restrictions. It is currently (9 pm on Monday) sitting at the field site but took the better part of the day to get it there. We are fairly confident no one is going to disturb our raft out of the shear inconvenience it would be to find/take it or try to ‘scoop’ us on coring the pond. 

Test fitting our 'lattice" on the floats

A ratchet strap here, ratchet strap there...

Sometimes the only way to test deck seaworthiness is breakdancing

Getting ready to row the boat over to the dock so that Thorleif can hook up flotilla. It's a regatta!

Still rowing (not built for speed)

Hiking in to meet Thorleif on the coast as close to the pond (ahead) as possible

Thorleif entering the small bay at high tide

Standing in the "baby fun" as it is delivered

Leading the boat up the shoreline to the closest shot up the hill to the pond

Note the timbers to make our tripod.

Add some water samples, a few cloud berries, and a nice cross-county walk through the marshy landscape, we were able to turn a case of the rainy ‘Mondays’ into a pretty productive work day that even saw some sun. With the weather looking good, we are in hopes that we can be coring by tomorrow afternoon. Any free time on the back-end of a field excursion is good for the nerves…and procuring fish for dinner…

Maddie water sampling

Cloud berries!

The mystery machine with a piece of timber we found on the beach for the tripod. Note orientation of the timber for travel...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

8/20: Coring Prep.

With one week in the field, Sunday was spent primarily gearing up for what looks to be Tueday-Thursday's field work on the pond (based on the weather and getting a crucial piece of gear from Havoysund). Preparations included talking over logistics, testing the fit of interlocking field gear post-shipment, and most importantly, acting out the coring process from start to finish (more spoken word, less interpretive dance). Seriously though, to be sure that you are not caught with your Bergans down after being dropped off, with no way of fixing a problem out in the field, it is very beneficial to go through each and every part of a field-work process. This also gets all the members of the crew on the same page with regards to what needs to happen sequentially and leads to innovative discussions (like "Hey, why don't we try this in Bermuda?"). 

So, absent pretty pictures of Scandinavian landscapes due to fog and rain, I have some videos for those of you that may be wondering how the heck we are going to get mud:

If you were wondering what that piston-thing is for:

If you were wondering what type of coring we were going to employ: 

If you forged ahead through each of those without wondering any of those things, congrats, as you have the gumption, perseverance, and will power to succeed in science! My old advisor once said that science is 99% boring, but hey, that other 1% is pretty exciting (kind of like when I caught the voltage converter on fire today). Takk!