~2° S, 72° E: The last Long Battle (26-hour station) is closer to an end. Everyone is exhausted but nobody is giving up. Situated around 2° S, we are very close to the Wall*. Recommended in August 2 Blogpost, the forces of the Wall will change the direction of the “toilet whirlpool” once we cross the Wall. In order to see the difference, we quickly check the direction of the “toilet whirlpool” while we are still in the South. However, this simple task proves to be a mission impossible as all toilets on the ship are equipped with a vacuum pump, similar to those that you find on an aircraft. There is a good reason for this. Our normal flushing toilet relies on gravity to draw down the water, but this simple mechanism can be tricky on a rolling ship in which things that are suppose to go down could end up elsewhere. We will not go into the details here.
Back at the last Long Battle, we are interested in phytoplankton but these organisms are so tiny that they are usually invisible to the naked human eye. Due to their small sizes and relatively low concentrations in the seawater, we need about 12 litres of seawater for filtration. And for every CTD cast, we collect seawater from six different depths, which makes life a bit difficult carrying six 20-liter containers up the narrow staircase, as our lab is located one level below where the CTD is. Rather than making six trips we figured out a better way to do it i.e. tighten up and bring them altogether like Santa Claus (See first photo).
*for the explanation of some of the terminologies used in this blog, please refer to the previous chapters.
by Wee Cheah and Sonja Wiegmann