View from the Bridge

Melville Bridge

I remember arriving at summer rental houses and during the initial excitement of running around exploring, I would “save” a room in the house to look at later on in the vacation.  True to my past behaviors, I decided to reserve venturing up to the Melville’s bridge until today.

The bridge is located on the 03 level of the ship (the 04 level, or observation deck on top of the bridge, is the highest level).  When I entered the room, I was overwhelmed with a sense of tranquility, and it took me until a conversation with Whitney later on in the day to realize why that was—it’s the only place I’ve been in the ship where I can’t hear the engine’s humming…it’s quiet!  The bridge houses the ship’s navigational system and the captain and three mates rotate standing watch in the bridge.  Large, immaculately clean windows (I am told they’re cleaned daily) occupy three of the walls to allow for optimal visibility of the sea and the ship’s exterior. Continue reading

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Winkler Titrations – Measuring Dissolved Oxygen

Winkler Bottle

We have been asked for another example of a chemical analysis being performed on the ship.   One of the most famous measurements is the determination of dissolved oxygen in seawater.   The CTD has an electrochemical sensor that measures oxygen continuously as it is lowered into the ocean.   However, the electrochemical sensor drifts with time and all CTD measurements must be calibrated against lab measurements.  Samples are taken from the Niskin bottles on the rosette for the calibration of the oxygen sensor.   The lab measurements are based on the classic Winkler titration of oxygen first developed by Lajos Winkler in 1888. Continue reading

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Iceberg Off the Starboard Bow!

Iceberg about three miles to starboard

Coming into this trip, I didn’t have any expectations of seeing icebergs.  Therefore, the first one we saw from afar near the Sandwich Islands came as a great surprise; it looked like a white fortress, and further investigation with binoculars made me eager to get closer to it.  We remained on station for a long time that day, and it was pretty unbelievable to stand on the deck and watch chinstrap penguins play next to the ship, while whales spouted in front of the iceberg in the distance.

When we finally left station, it was getting dark and visibility was not Continue reading

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