July 26, 2011
Today was a sad day on the Lake Guardian. As we watched the sun rise over the Apostle Islands, a sight—or rather, a dream washed our eyes with pinks and purples and the mixed colors of sandstone. However, as we watched this we all knew that our last day on the boat was upon us. It was for that reason that late last night people who had no job or task to do were still milling around the labs and watching their colleagues work the decks, sampling zooplankton and phytoplankton. Fortunately, we had a couple of long awaited programs (long awaited for the week long event that is). Our first treat this morning was the “isotope lecture” by lead scientist Joel Hoffman (Isotope Ubermensch). Dr. Hoffman enlightened and delighted the anxious crowd of teachers with warm-up jokes and quirky isotope anecdotes. He turned up the heat when he threw in race cars and the addition of “two isotopes walked into a bar…” by Dr. Greg Boyer. Dr. Hoffman drew gasps of “oohs” and “ahs” as he demonstrated how isotopes pinpointed snowfall originating from the Great Lakes during the great Groundhog Blizzard of 2011, opening our eyes to the wonders of isotopic meteorology. When we were joined by the group of teachers studying the St. Louis Estuary, we were treated with our second delight of the day. This group, which was sponsored by the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), revitalized our group by making us the teachers of the sampling equipment and the students of methods they were using to test turbidity and water clarity. This week has been a lightning bolt of energy and time for all of us. No one can believe the week has come to an end; alas, it has. Everyone has left the wet lab as John and I finish typing, and though there will be one more blog for our research trip, this is sadly our last night to be with each other, so we are saying goodbye for now. Remember, to join the COSEE group next year on Lake Huron…that’s where the Merrill sank if you don’t remember and join Sandy tomorrow for her retrospective of the last minutes of COSEE 2011.