by Matthew Shupe, CIRES/NOAA scientist and co-coordinator of MOSAiC
We are about half way through our leg of MOSAiC. And in Polarstern tradition this means that there is a party. Some gluhwein on the ice and another barbeque in the wet lab and on the working deck. The real highlight of the evening for me was the group photo time prior to the festives. We set up a line of flags, the 20 flags of MOSAiC nations, all strung next to each other. This was placed just beyond a scenic melt pond. In front of that pond we put the big MOSAiC flag, held tight on some boards. Lianna and I arranged a number of props…. Sleds where people could sit, floats where people could be in the middle of the melt pond. And just before photo time the sun came out! Before everyone assembled, I had a few minutes to rest. Lying flat out on some floats in the middle of the pond. Bobbing gently, and sun warming my face. The time has been exhausting thus far so it was nice to rest in the sun, even if only for a few minutes. But then slowly the parade of people came out to the ice. All scientists, all crew (except for the couple needed to maintain the ship…. I guess you never leave the ship fully unattended!). Many different colors and outfits. Those in survival suites frolicking in the pond….. and later many others joined in the pond bathing. It was a really nice moment, feeling the international spirit of MOSAiC, standing there among the flags. The only thing missing for me were a couple more flags as there are so many other nations represented through the home nations of the participants: Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Bangladesh, Australia, and many more. This international piece is one of my favorite aspects of this expedition.