I feel like we keep having these turning points in the expedition, and we just had a literal turning point – we hit the northernmost point of the expedition! We reached nearly 85°N latitude (have a look on a globe how close that is to the very top), which was also the end of our latest transects. (New readers, a transect is when we travel on a straight line, from shallow to deep water, and deploy instruments along the way to measure water conditions.) We went out to see what the top of the world looks like, and to watch the latest CTD cast, which was headed down 3500meters (more than 2 miles down), and was the 97th of the expedition! (CTD, as my regular readers will know, stands for conductivity, temperature, depth, and we “cast” the instruments into the ocean to take measurements of the temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen levels, and more, at different depths – from the surface to the bottom.)
The Sun barely and briefly peeked through cloudy skies, and ice floes were scattered in most directions – from our perspective, it appeared that one of the ice floes had an iceberg sitting in the middle of it, like a castle surrounded by an icy moat. When the CTD came up, and after the scientists gathered the water samples they needed for their experiments, they allowed me to come and take a sample of my own as a souvenir! So, several of us will be lucky enough to bring home water from the BOTTOM of the Arctic!