I checked the clock. 7:30 pm. Where are they? I thought, It's been hours! I paced along the long hallway in the lower floor of the marine lab. Peeking my head out the back door, I spotted someone with a head lamp working on the dock. Is that them? Where's the ship?
Soon it was 8:00. Ok, it does not take 6 hours to drive to Kvadehuken, dive, and come back, I told myself. I had had enough. Maybe their radio broke. I marched downstairs to find someone who knew what was going on, but when I swung open the door to the dive locker, I stopped cold. Peter and Daniel were inside, wearing street clothes.
"Umm..." I started.
Daniel met my eyes. "We had to abort. We've been back for an hour. Didn't anyone tell you?"
Well, no, they hadn't, but I guess I'd rather find out late than never. The dive to retrieve my settlement plates from Kvadehuken was aborted before my plates were retrieved. Apparently, the diving spot at Kvadehuken has been marked by a moored buoy for years, and the mooring also served as an anchor for the zodiac whenever a dive took place. Well, the divers anchored the zodiac to the mooring just like always, except that this time, the mooring ripped out of the ground. Thankfully, nobody was harmed, but without an anchor point for the zodiac, they could not complete the dive.
I asked if there was any possibility to re-do the dive, but it looks like the chances are small to remote. There are only a few more days left, and without the mooring, diving at Kvadehuken is even more logistically difficult than before. I fully expect we won't be able to try again, but you know what, that's ok. The data I've already collected are valuable. We know that there is settlement happening during the polar night, and we've been able to show it in two locations. There were also differences in number and identity of recruits between the stations.
Stuff happens. Logistical problems happen, and frankly, there's a reason why nobody's ever done this before. I got back plates from 2 out of 3 locations - that's 67% retrieval - and I'm happy with that number. We'll be back in September to collect settlement plates from each location, and I look forward to seeing what has settled at Kvadehuken then.
My work may be over, but others are still going strong. If you're interested in knowing more about other projects going on during the Marine Night campaign, check out the field blog: http://marinenight2015.mare-incognitum.no/