Things continue to wind down. We dismantled the mesocosm raft structure today and hauled the rings out of the water, returning them to the same small anomalous shoreside lea of red currants (if I had to guess, I'd say Ribes spicatum, the Nordic currant) and wild flowers we dragged them out of a month ago. The currants were good.
At the same time, we started the arduous task of packing. It is incredible the cheerfully fast-paced efficiency with which the French team works.
After dinner, another of our members left us, meaning that, yet again, we did not manage to go a full day without someone leaving (Marja left on Friday, Julia left on Saturday, and Nathalie and Juli left on Sunday). Jussi needed to drive in to Trondheim to NTNU to drop off one of the plankton nets, which is needed for class tomorrow, and he decided that since he was going to have to drive in on Wednesday morning with three huge dewars of frozen samples in the back of his Land Rover, he ought to leave Morris at home. I don't know if anyone else has realized this yet, but we are now Morrisless. It is a sad day.
After dinner (and after Morris and Jussi left), we mostly all decided to chill out for a bit (although the NOC team carried on packing). Annick, Morgane, and Manon sat up in the lounge trying to upload pictures to the blog. Briva and Morten went out fishing. And I decided to finally go for the 6 km walk to the ferry and back. Because I WILL GET THERE before we leave. PERIOD.
But of course, I managed to get 5 minutes away from the station when I realized that we had no way of transporting half our frozen samples in to Trondheim (where at least a freezer is awaiting them for their brief stay before being shipped hither and yon). I hiked up the hill back to the station and Richard called Jussi for me. No problem. Since he would be at NTNU in about an hour anyway dropping off the plankton net, he would grab us a bunch of styrofoam boxes they had for transporting frozen fish (for teaching purposes, I presume). Richard asked if we knew yet what time the truck would come tomorrow to pick up our non-frozen goods (15 pallets + several ginormous wood boxes) and he said, probably after lunch, but they could come as early as 10.
The frenzied panic commenced to finish packing the boxes, to demount the Milli-Q system, and to start to get stuff stacked on pallets. We worked until at least 10pm. I don't know about the others, but I am now totally exhausted. I need a long vacation (alas, teaching begins next week; it'll be December before I manage to catch up on my sleep).
I haven't mentioned this yet, but during the last 2-3 days, winter has set in. We'll get up in the morning to find it is only a couple of degrees above freezing. And then last night, starting at about 9, the winds came.
We have been having trouble understanding why everyone has said, "Wow, you didn't lose any mesocosm bags during the experiment," or "It takes an entire day to take down 6 mesocosm bags" (we've been managing 12 in 2 hours), and etc. But now I understand. I think we've got a Force 8, gusting at least 9, outisde. And it doesn't show any sign of stopping. And this is probably the "normal" weather, not this namby pamby sunnyish calm stuff we've been having (in between the very soft but very wet, misty rain).