Headed for Nuuk (Greenland)

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24 October 2013

Headed for Nuuk (Greenland)
 
Thursday morning we’ll arrive in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. All day Wednesday the scientific team conducted a long sampling station that lasted more than 24 hours – a challenging day that ended mid-evening with a snowfall and level of humidity we’d almost forgotten.

 
Begun at 8 o’clock on Wednesday morning, this station will be remembered. This is the first one accomplished outside the Arctic Circle for several months. Certainly one of the “softer” in terms of temperature, but with wind, waves and humidity. It proved harder than the most recent stations in a colder environment.
 
All day, I watched the gladiators of science led by Eric Karsenti, scientific director of the expedition and currently chief scientist aboard between Greenland and Canada. You really need to be passionate about this mission, and master everything to sustain such a pace. After a hot meal, with only a brief  three-quarters of an hour of respite, several pillars of the team are napping on benches in the main cabin.
 
To probe the surface, and a 350-meter depth where currents from the Atlantic underly the cold polar waters, Tara’s scientific team has deployed the rosette 8 times, and also dozens of nets. Once again we found plenty of living things, but mostly at depth.
 
That night we used engine power to head for Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. Population 15,000 – that’s a big city for this region. We ‘ll arrive there tomorrow mid-morning, just 130 km southeast of our present position.
We will remain at anchor one day before passing once again through the Davis Strait, then rapidly heading for the middle of the Labrador Sea. This will be our last scientific station before Quebec.
 
The crossing has been closely monitored for several days by Martin Hertau, our captain. Two low pressure systems are taking turns sweeping over this zone. We’ll try to pass between the drops while respecting the schedule:  Arrival on November 10th in Quebec!
 
Vincent Hilaire