(if you substitute the word "degrees" for the symbol which can be found under "symbols" in word, you can enter the latitude and longitude into google earth and you'll see where we are)
Latitude: 60 degrees 25.9103 N
Longitude: 002 degrees 37.3900 E
Weather: White clouds with spells of sunshine and a light sea breeze.
The ship left Immingham docks on the 13th of June at around 3.30 in the afternoon. The scientists aboard were all very happy to finally be on their way and as we left, it started to rain! The rest of the afternoon was spent doing final preparations and making sure all the equipment was tied down and secure for the possibility of rough seas ahead. In the evening the scientists met in the bar for a quick meeting before opening the first bottles of beer and making the first Gin/tonics (I haven't found soda water yet!). Alcohol aboard the ship can be bought tax-free, therefore buying beer for four people comes to about two pounds.
Even though the bed in my cabin is quite small, sleeping on a moving ship is superb. Whenever the ship climbs a wave you are gently pushed into your bed and when it slides down on the other side of the wave, you're gently lifted off of your bed.
Yesterday morning after breakfast we launched our first CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth). A CTD is a circular metal cage which is attached to a winch. It has a number of sensors on it measuring things like conductivity (salinity), temperature and pressure (depth). It also has sample bottles (Niskin bottles) attached to it which can collect water samples from different depths. As soon as the CTD was back up on deck all the scientists took their first samples and started working away in the lab. Until we reach Svalbard, we'll be doing one CTD every morning after breakfast.
In the afternoon I went to the ships gym. With three warm meals a day and nowhere to run, the gym is the only way try and keep fit. Nevertheless, I am dreading my first circuit training session when I am back in Glasgow!
The days are slowly settling down now into a routine which is dictated by the meal times of the ship.
Breakfast: 7.30, CTD 8.30, working in the lab until lunch which is at 12.00. more lab work until 3pm, then gym, then data analysis and computer work until 6 pm, then getting ready (putting on a shirt and tie) for dinner which is at 6.30 pm. After dinner we work for another hour before meeting in the bar and taking our first sun-downer. Until we reach Svalbard the schedule of our days will not deviate much from the description above.