9th August continued by Meret:
Even though the day was colder and wetter than any so far, it was an important day. It marked the first collection of our microplastic samples. We are collecting water samples for an organization called Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC).We will send the samples to a lab in Maine, where Abby Barrows, whom Meret briefly met, will analyze them. Our samples will become part of their world wide study of microplastic in the oceans and rivers. These will be the first samples they have from the NW-Passage. In order to be part of the study and qualify for taking the samples, we had to follow a strict protocol, which we (Salina, Andri & Meret) had been tested on prior to our departure from Nome. This required us to diligently wash out all the bottles, label them in a set manner and rinse the bucket to avoid contamination of the sample. Part of the protocol also required us to wash our hands, which is not a problem in warmer waters but here in the Beaufort Sea .
We bathed our hands in -2.6 degrees Celsius. Needless to say it was cold!! The whole process while fun, did leave us a little frozen and in need of a hot chocolate to warm up. But we were very happy. There in a green recycled Schwepps bottle we had our first ever microplastic sample – 1 liter of icy cold water from the NW-Passage! Even though it is just our first sample, we are super excited to hear the results of the analysis a few months down the line.
As it gets a little dim, the only thing that reminds us there isn’t 24 hour daylight every where else, the rain stops and the horizon clears up a little. Instantly, it feels a little less damp and cold. We are sailing along towards Barter Island, where we plan to stop tomorrow, before continuing to Hershel Island, Canada. Just before midnight Meret spots a boat that isn’t visible on the AIS, unusual. Turns out it’s the US Coast Guard. They call us and ask Dario all sorts of formal questions about who is on board, our last and next port of call, etc. The only info he repeats is: “Please, confirm there are 5 children aged 8 months to 11 years of age on board.”, he sounds a little surprised. “Yes, that is correct.”, Dario replies with a smile and goes on to ask them for weather and ice conditions. Winds between 5-15 knots and mostly ice clear to the Canadian border.
Lat/Long.–Sea state–Wind speed and direction–Water temp.–Pressure– N71.03/ W149.44– 1 to 2 — NE17 — -3deg. C — 1011 —
Cloud coverage–Magnetic deviation–air temp.–24h distance covered–wildlife 100%– 55– 4deg. C — Arctic tern, seals, a whale — 141nm
We are making good way. It’s pretty calm but we have decent wind most of the time (10-20 knots from N / NE). It’s raining. We are deciding whether we should push on and try to make it to Hershel Island before we get too much headwind or if we should pass by the … Island, where we were told there are polar bears.
The autopilot stopped working briefly but Dario knows what to look for now so we had it fixed in no time.
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Today, I did school like every morning they woke me up but I was so tired. I wished I could have slept all day. Meret saw a whale today.Yesterday we saw ice. They were all different shapes and sizes. One was shaped like a sea bird and one was shaped like a wall with a little ship sailing in front of it. Some of the, were really big. Christina and Meret and Mum saw a seal.
Today is very wet and grey, we haven’t seen any ice. The weather forecast was for the wind. It’s really grey, we can’t see anything but our books inside.
I’m trying to make a question game in school but it is very hard. I have to write so many questions. During break we ate one slice of apple and half a sandwich, it was very good. I’m in 4th grade now, it’s not hard yet.
Every lunch I need to draw our current location on the paper chart. Yesterday, I was the cook and made our favorite swiss food: ‘Älplermacaroni’ It’s a dish of pasta, onions, cream, bacon and cheese. I put in a lot of cheese!
Yesterday, it was my turn to draw in our logbook for the day. I drew the coast of point Barrow. Dad said, I should become a cartographer.
I went outside in just a jumper, trousers and slippers, it was not so cold but still my hands got really really cold.
7th August, 2016 Noé and Alegra report:
We are going really slow because the wind is coming from the north. We even had take in the fishing line so we are faster. A tug boat went by fast and it told us the weather. We were both topless in the Arctic but we weren’t cold. After that we saw an Arctic bullet. It is actually called a jaeger or Arctic Skua but I (Noé) like Arctic bullet better. They can fly very fast and sometimes steal food from other birds. After that we did English.
I (Alegra) did some maths in school today. Then I helped mum make some yogurt.
Big waves came, Pachamama’s bow kept hitting the water hard. We couldn’t do anything. We saw some kittiwakes near by.
We had one quarter of an apple and one quarter of an orange, our daily ration of fruit, during our school break. For lunch we had wraps and cabbage, sweet corn, carrot salad. Cabbage can last very long.
At 23.50 hour Meret woke me up for my watch and said: “there are wales and ice!” I didn’t really think that it was ice to be honest,because she already saw once ice but it wasn’t! But when I came up I saw it immediately! There were big ice blocks on the sunset-colored horizon!
Nature here is so pure and innocent. Like the first sight of a newborn! I am so amazed about that spectacle and thankful to see such a wonder…