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Dispatch 17: Shrinky Cups!

The colored cups before they were sent down to the bottom of the ocean (Photo by Ashley Arroyo).
Members of the night watch (Nicolas and Chris) securing the colored cups to the wire (Photo by Ashley Arroyo).
The shrunken styrofoam cups after they returned from 3850 meters (Photo by Ashley Arroyo).

Ashley Arroyo

October 2, 2022

Dispatch 17: Shrinky Cups!

Today, we did our deepest CTD cast of the expedition (3830 meters), which was located at 75°18.00’N 153°18.00’W! As you go deeper in the ocean, the weight of the water above you is heavier, and so the pressure pushing down on you is larger. As you can imagine, there is quite a bit of pressure pushing down on the rosette when it is at a depth of 3830 meters! So, everyone on the Louis continued a long-standing tradition of coloring styrofoam cups and bowls, which would be attached to the CTD rosette, and sent to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean! Due to the immense amount of pressure, the styrofoam cups are crushed into tiny versions of their original states, leaving us with souvenir styrofoam cups with our drawings on them! Many of the cups contained images of the Louis, polar bears, sea ice, and other Arctic Ocean scenes. Once everyone had colored on their cups, it was time to send them down to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean!

We arrived at the station (CB-5) around 4:30am (local time) and put all the cups into bags that we would soon tie to the wire that holds the rosette. In addition to the cups, one member of the science crew even sent down a bag with some clothes in it, so when he gets home, he can tell people that his clothes have been to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean! As we lowered the rosette into the water, a few members of the night shift watch carefully secured the bags of cups and clothes to the wire holding the rosette, using zip ties. Then, they soared off to 3850 meters depth! Once the CTD cast was finished and the rosette was almost at the surface, the bags of cups and clothes were retrieved and brought inside for everyone to see! The cups shrunk to just a couple inches tall! Now, we all have great souvenirs to give to our loved ones back at home or keep for ourselves as a reminder of our time on the Louis in 2022.