Friday, April 17, 2015

“The Green Flash”

You never really know what you’re going to see or experience in the world until it happens.  
One morning recently, while sampling in the CTD bay of the Ron Brown, the night watch science crew experienced the green flash in an unexpected way.  We weren’t looking for it, but we were in the right place at the right time, and experienced it. What a wondrous surprise.
There have been lots of posts at sea about the green flash – that fleeting moment when the sun's light appears green along the horizon for an instant when you have a very clear sky without many scatterers – what made this experience blog-able is that we were flashed at sunrise, when we least expected it.  While sampling from the niskin bottles filled with ocean water from more than 4000 meters below where we were standing, the weary group all cried out together in amazement various phrases of surprise, awe, and wonder– “Woo hoo!  The green flash!”, “Did you see that?!” , “Ooooh!”. 

We went on to regale our friends, colleagues, and fellow crew over breakfast, only to be met with disbelief and ridicule because, while physically possible, many of the people on this boat had logged many, many years at sea and never seen it at sunrise. It was only that we experienced it together which made it credible at all. 

So as we start this cruise, I am hoping that we have calm seas, great data, and many wondrous surprises. This cruise is a repeat hydrography section – we have been on this track before and sampled these waters before.  We even have expectations set in our minds about what we should find now after nearly 10 years between sampling this line.  So in addition to the solidification of our understanding that repeatability or predictability will provide, I also look forward to the wondrous surprises that await us. I will be blogging about them, when we do.


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