Houston, we have a problem

In true GEOTRACES fashion, a major problem has developed. Not as serious as last year (in 2010 a drive shaft that operates one of the ship’s propellers broke, forcing us to end the cruise early), but still a big issue. While we have a handful of people like myself doing onboard analysis, we also transport thousands of samples back to the US to distribute to various labs. During the cruise, samples are stored in a “freezer van” which is essentially a freezer the size of a box truck that sits on deck. Pulling away from Bermuda we realized that the van was not working properly and we do not have the right parts to fix it. Without the van there are a number of samples from the remainder of the cruise that are in jeopardy. The Chief Scientists had to make a quick decision and our current plan is to complete station 10 (this will take 1-2 days) and then head back into port in Bermuda on Monday. Hopefully by Monday we can have the right parts or a new van to swap out and then be back on track.

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