Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nothing gold can stay

After three fast-paced days of sampling and filtering, our expedition has finally come to an end. On Monday we finally got into the Fraser River, thanks to Metro Port Vancouver, who once again offered the services of their Port Fraser patrol boat in the delta. We collected a total of 300 liters of water at different depths in order to determine how well-mixed the suspended particles in the river are. We then returned to the hotel to begin the filtration marathon.

Tuesday we met the UFV students at the time series sampling site in Fort Langley. The students seem excited about the expanded sampling protocol (including dissolved organic carbon, radiocarbon, deuterium, trace metals, and DNA samples, in addition to the major ion, nutrient, and strontium isotope samples they have collected for over a year already). We hope that they are gaining valuable experience and scientific inspiration in the process! We also appreciated their help in processing samples today and yesterday in the lab. We spent the better portion of the last two days at UFV filtering our massive water samples, not an easy task in the face of stubbornly leaky equipment and quickly clogging filters. But the team effort made the work easy and by the end of the day, we had generated an impressive set of extremely clean water bottles. We're looking forward to diving into another set of fantastic samples back at WHOI!

Things I will miss about B.C.:
  • the mountains, everywhere
  • salmon on every menu
  • the awesome UFV students (special thanks to Jenna for helping with filtration and lignin extraction ALL DAY today)
  • Stanley Cup fever (especially Tyler, the charmingly belligerent Canucks fan on the SkyTrain)
  • the wonderful cafes/bakeries in every small town we visited (Wendel's in Fort Langley, City Blends in Abbotsford, German bakery in Lillooet, Granville Coffee in Quesnel, Books & Company in Prince George, the Beanery in McBride, the Swiss Bakery in Valemount, and of course Packing House in Spences Bridge)
And for those who entered the "How high will it go?" water level contest, although the freshet is not quite finished on the Fraser, the maximum level recorded so far at Hope was 8.75 meters. The lucky winner will be treated to a free slideshow of pictures from our trip, with commentary! Or, if they would rather watch paint dry, cookies. But I should point out that this was the lowest estimate, and judging from the considerable snowpack still locked up in the mountains, I would wager that it might rise more yet...the adventure never ends!

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