Notes from the field...

Scott Inlet 2013
Ice bergs in Scott Inlet
In 2013, I was lucky enough to do field work in Scott Inlet - a fjord frequented by cruise ships because of the specular setting. Scott Inlet is very remote along the northeast coast of Baffin Island. Here are the links to my trip:

Where I'm heading...
Getting closer; report from Clyde River
Heading up the Baffin Island Coast
Scott Inlet - getting to work
Scott Inlet - trawling and long lines
Recipe for Maaqtak
Electric blue icing

Cumberland Sound 2011

Me and the M/V Nuliajuk
Here's my account of the 2011 Cumberland Sound field season on the M/V Nuliajuk (written for the project newsletter).

Mid summer found me on my way to spend six weeks in Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island, Nunavut – a remote area where we know little about the physical oceanography. Already I had crossed over most of the country when an hour-long flight from Iqaluit to Pangnirtung morphed into a two-day delay due to crosswinds. I was stuck and had time, so I headed out to look around. Once outside Iqaluit's yellow-pelican-case-inspired airport, I spotted a blue-hulled ship at anchor in the harbour. It was the M/V Nuliajuk, the ship I was scheduled to meet in Pangnirtung. Instead of waiting for a flight, I boarded the ship. The M/V Nuliajuk was so new, I had to unwrap sheets from their original packaging in order to make my bunk.

Most of summer's research centred on fish. Greenland shark, turbot and Arctic skate were tagged, measured and studied by a diverse group of scientists from the OTN Arctic group, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as well as Memorial University. To further our understanding about the local creatures, someone needed to investigate the physical conditions within the sound – which was my part of the project. My research focused the seawater's properties. For data collection, I used a CTD profiler to measure salinity, temperature, depth and dissolved oxygen by lowering the instrument through the water.

After a few hiccups a routine was established. Most days started with pulling up the 600-hook fishing line and processing the fish, a task typically taking until early afternoon. Fishing was followed by a CTD cast or two. Re-baiting the fishing line took the rest of the afternoon and early evening, when the line was ready it was deployed. This daily grind resulted in plenty of fish and 44 CTD casts. Near summer's end, a day was devoted to CTD casts in one location to capture tidal fluctuations.

Early in the field program, along with many acoustic receiver moorings, an oceanographic mooring was deployed. While we fished and casted, salinity and temperature data at 40m intervals from the bottom (270m) to 30m below the surface were collected. The roughest day, with 5m waves, turned out to be mooring recovery day. The ship's sonar located the mooring and we signalled it to release. As the mooring's orange float bobbed to the surface, I let out a sigh of relief – I would get plenty of data (which is never a sure thing with moorings). After securing the mooring on board, the ship headed for a sheltered cove to wait out the storm. The next day, after I downloaded the data, the mooring was redeployed. Both this mooring and another will remain out all winter.

In addition to bringing home lots of data, I came away with two important fishy facts. The first is how to determine the gender of a shark and the second is that I don't fancy cod tongues for dinner. 

I wrote in more detail here (in order):
Packing for the Arctic
The Arctic Project
Getting to Pangurtung
Update 2
Update 3 - Sharks
Working Out the Kinks
Update 4 - bad weather and more fishing
Update 5 - zombies
Final Update

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