Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Part III, Day 8: 080715

Our morning appointment with Mike and Sea North was scheduled for 9:20, but Christy wisely wanted us to be actually in the boat by that time, and not waste precious boat-time ($175/hour) with the usual messing-about with lifejackets and so forth beforehand. We were down at the water by about 9:05, which put us in good shape to get out and about on the ocean on time.

The morning weather was excellent, with almost no wind and glass-smooth water, and we drove out onto Hudson Bay proper, turning East outside the mouth of the Churchill river and driving over some remarkably shallow water. Hudson Bay’s bottom is very nearly flat, to the point that even though we were about 2 km off-shore, and the land was visible only as a silhouette, we were only about 2 metres above the bottom. We could see the large rocks and coarse sand of the bottom when we slowed down.

We got our dredge and massive amount of rope out, and proceeded to bounce the dredge over rocks on the bottom. It didn’t really get anything interesting at first, but we drove around a little bit until we found some softer sand on the bottom, with scattered macroalgae. The dredge was able to get down into this material, and we got some lovely specimens.

We had planned to visit some otherwise-inaccessible shore areas, so I brought a gun. I think this picture captures the required field gear for marine biology in Hudson Bay: a boat, a shotgun, digging and sieving tools, and a spare prop. What else could you possibly need?

On the way back to Churchill I thoroughly scandalized my companions by requesting a quick pee break. Some people did not approve of my need to urinate into Hudson Bay. Oh well, when you gotta go…

The afternoon was spent sorting through what we’d collected with the dredges. It takes surprisingly long to dig through a bucket of mixed mud and sand to find very small worms. I occasionally overheard comments about the current temperature of the water.

Tomorrow is another boat day, but I do not think I will be on board, as there are others who would benefit more from being out on the water. Instead, I think I will walk to some of the very nearby ponds at the CNSC.

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