Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 38: Whale Connections

I reran the Hach phosphorus tests to see if there are any additional effects by the containers after a couple of days. So this is the results after roughly 72 hours. Containers are not absorbing nutrients!
All the DI transport containers still show blue compared
to the pure DI with no phosphorus in it.

Same with the DI incubation chambers. Therefore, I don't think
that there is an effect by the containers.

For the lake water containers, only the 50x was really still
blue, but this could actually mean that the phosphorus was
used up by they phytoplankton, which makes sense.

Same with the lake water in the transport containers. 

I also wanted to introduce Harry who joined the CNSC staff this summer in maintenance. For the ITEX experiment (remember the Dryas?) I had to make a stand to mount thermal sensors onto. The stand was to be made of a wooden dowel and I had to make grooves into the dowel so the wires and the metal sensors would be protected. First, I tried to carve it out with a knife, which was more apt to slice into my fingers. Then I tried a hand saw, which just started to split it and didn't really make anything wide enough to become a rounded groove. I eventually gave up and decided to seek the advice of Harry in the workshop. Of course, he had a tool for it - not that I know the name. It was a hand held electrical circular saw which he expertly used to carve the perfect, smooth groove into the wood. Watching him work was like watching an art form, which it was - he was making art. He knew exactly how much pressure to use to get the slowly deepening groove. He would rock the blade to smooth the channel and make it perfectly round. When the saw would sometimes spark, he didn't flinch like I did, but remained holding firmly, knowing always where the blade was. The scent and warmth of wood dust in the garage with sparks flying... He is an inuk who builds ulu stands out of wood and komatiks for children. The skill was fascinating to witness.

An ulu is a woman's all purpose knife.

A komatik is a sled traditionally pulled by dogs. Harry told me
that he makes them to pull children in the winter, like a little red
wagon, he told me.

One of the volunteers, Sarah, was telling a story about how when she was a little girl in Minnesota, she would sit and watch the beluga whales in the aquarium for hours. Any other time, she would be running around and jumping on everything, but for the belugas, she sat and watched. Fascinated. Harry then told a story about his brother. The first belugas in captivity were from Churchill. Harry's brother was hired to capture some belugas in the bay years and years ago. The crew would select a young one that could still be transported. Harry didn't describe how they were captured, but somehow they would get the whales into the boat and hoist them up into a sling, like a hammock. Then they would have to spray the whales to keep them moist for their journey to an aquarium somewhere in the world - from New York to Japan, and Minnesota. The whales that Sarah was excited to see as a little girl were captured by Harry's brother in 1978. They were named Anookalik and Anana. They have since passed away. Most now are bred in captivity and are no longer captured in the wild. It's a small world sometimes. 

One of the beluga whales that was in Duluth, Minnesota from
Churchill, Manitoba.

No comments:

Post a Comment