September 17, 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 58

Posted by larryohanlon

By Matthew Shupe

8/12/20 Tryoshnikov

Arrival of Akademik Tryoshnikov for Leg 3/4 exchange during MOSAiC. Photo: Lisa Grosfeld/AWI

The big move-in today. People that will be leaving on Tryoshnikov officially moved over to their new home for the next days. Lots of hugging on Polarstern, and the Leg 4 team sang the MOSAiC song to the incoming people. Then a progression of baskets being lifted over from one deck to the other, carrying all the people. A bit of chaos as people searched for their rooms, moving bags out of the rain. Smiling stewardesses waiting there to help get people headed in the right direction. As the cruise leader my room is way up on the top floor just below the bridge, with a nice office space and windows looking forward and to the port side. Quite a nice situation. I met with the captain for a social evening that also included the Polarstern captain. A nice dinner and some discussions to work out the last details for parting ways. It was nice to have this last meeting with captain Wunderlich as we’ve developed a very good connection over the past couple of months together and he’s played such a pivotal role in the arch of MOSAiC. He got us into a stable position with the ship next to the ice floe that enabled us to have a very successful and continuous Leg 4. So one last goodbye and handshake with the captain before he was lifted back to Polarstern. Now we have completed our turnover operations: the fueling, the cargo shuffle, the movement of people, the handover of knowledge that will be needed for this new group to carry forward. And on this side, the Leg 4 group settles in for an adventure of our own…. We will be collecting drifting assets that have been part of the MOSAiC distributed network before heading back to Germany.

8/13/20  Farewell

Russian research icebreaker Akademik Tryoshnikov and Polarstern meet in the Arctic Ocean to exchange personnel, cargo and fuel before separating again, taking the previous leg members home. Photo: Steffen Graupner

Sometimes goodbyes are hard. Like this morning. Two ships together, then the lines are reeled in. Subtle movements and a slow parting. The railings of both vessels crowded with people, initially just a few feet apart. Waving. Photos.  Crying. Further movement as Polarstern starts to move forward very slowly, but with power. A long horn sounds from Polarstern. A long answer from Tryoshnikov. Then a short response from each. That little ritual marked the end of this engagement as Polarstern kept moving forward. Many faces passed by, most not familiar, or at least not recently familiar. But there are a few who remain onboard Polarstern from Leg 4 to carry the expedition forward to its final stanza. And it is those faces I want to find. They are the direction of my waves. We’ve made great friends on this melt season journey, and those that stay behind are some of my closest MOSAiC friends. They are the ones that make the goodbyes hard. But it is also great to know that MOSAiC will be in good hands going forward. Alli, Verena, Melinda. Three great friends, all great leaders, all have made a huge contribution to MOSAiC, and all have made this time in the Arctic enjoyable. Farewell as you continue the journey.

Read more of Shupe’s posts here

Scientist Matthew Shupe (CIRES/University of Colorado Boulder) is blogging from an icebreaker frozen into Arctic Ocean sea ice, so far north that the Northern Lights are no longer visible. Shupe is co-coordinator of the international Arctic climate mission MOSAiC, or Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate. Today, he’s among about 100 people aboard the German icebreaker Polarstern. Shupe, who also works for the NOAA Physical Sciences Division in Boulder, Colorado, began planning the mission more than a decade ago, with an expanding network of scientific leaders from around the world. In a series of short posts from the ship, he shares his experience of the expedition, led by the Alfred Wegener Institute. U.S. funding for MOSAiC sciences comes primarily from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. Follow the expedition: and @MOSAiCArctic.