Antarctic Blog 27 March 2017

Back to the sea – Leg 4 from Cape Town to Europe starts

by Katrianne Lehtipalo

Position 33°55′S, 18°25′E
Research vessel Academic Tryoshnikov in Capetown
Antarctic was circumnavigated. A boat full of happy scientists arrived in Cape Town and was met by the press and fellow ACE participants. Julia Schmale from PSI gave a talk at the ACE science conference about the connections between the atmosphere and the ocean. A lot of hassle, celebrations, goodbyes.
ACE pavilion, where the press and science conferences were held
However, a small team of altogether 13 scientists (2 of us from PSI) continued the journey to keep the measurements running at the Akademik Tryoshnikov from Cape Town, South Africa until Bremerhaven in Germany. 3 more weeks of valuable data.
Leaving from Capetown harbor
As soon as we left Cape Town, the particle number concentration dropped rapidly from more than 20 000 in a cubic centimeter (cc) in the harbour to about 150/cc at the open sea. Nothing can be seen from the windows except open sea and occasionally some cargo ships in the horizon. However, our measurements are revealing the unseen in the air and in the water.

As one of the newbies on the boat I’m following the more experienced participants like a puppy not to get lost on the boat corridors. Even though we are almost disconnected from the outer world, days pass by quickly, as there is plenty to do every day. Quickly a routine is established with food, checking the instruments, food, science meeting, changing filters, food, backing up data, solving small problems, food, sauna etc. Very similar to life at any field research station, except that everything is constantly moving and you have to remember to tie all the instruments, boxes and even chairs to the floor. So far the sea has been calm…

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