Researchers who come to the Arctic in summer have 24 hours of daylight, and they try to use every one of them. They can wait years to get the chance to work here, and it will be years, if ever, before they will get another opportunity. And in the case of this expedition, they had only days left. The icebreaker Oden is scheduled to start heading back to port Aug. 1. So scientists and crew try to accomplish as much as they can by doing as much as possible simultaneously. On the day before departing, researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were operating the Camper vehicle nearly round-the-clock, searching for hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. Meanwhile, Vera Schlindwein, a seismologist from the Alfred Wegener Institute, needed to retrieve seismometers she had set up on nearby drifting ice floes. These two operations could not happen at the same time, because Schlindwein’s required using the helicopter. If something happens to the helicopter out in the Arctic wilderness, ship and crew must do everything possible to come to the aid of pilots and passengers. During an hour-or-so interval Tuesday, Camper was out of the water so that the ship could reposition it above another seafloor target. Schlindwein’s team swooped into that time slot, and the helicopter swooped off to fetch seismometers.
Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »