It was a beautiful Swedish sunny Saturday the 9th of August when the crew for leg 3 of this Baltic Sea Expedition gathered in the harbour of Sandhamn in the archipelago of Stockholm. We were all excited when approaching this magnificent sailing boat, the Sea Dragon, that was about to be our home for the next seven days. The aim of this trip is to set sail for the northern parts of the Gulf of Bottnia in the Baltic Sea and take samples of the water along the way. The main interest are the plastic particles in the water, and these can be investigated on board with near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) and with microscopy.

The first night was spent on board the Sea Dragon to get to know the routines and the equipment.The morning after we set sail to go to the bay outside Gävle, and there we picked up engineer Bjarne who solved the problems with the pump that had been formed previously. At this point we also started the first successful survey and took up samples with the trawl and also pumped water through the different filters. The weather was kept sunny and we continued sailing up north. This day’s beautiful weather gave time for nice photo-shooting from another boat and some dancing on board.

After hours of sailing we went in to a more stormy weather, gathering some real sailing speed up to 13 knot and all the crew members were really fighting at this point. The strong down wind sailing through the high waves made it quite hard to gather new samples of particles and therefore the Sea Dragon is currently making a stop at Norra Kvarken until 4am to wait for better sampling weather. A night staying anchored is appreciated by the crew members and everybody takes the chance to rest and sleep for a new day of scientific surveys. We are looking forward to tomorrow morning and the freshly baked bread that will be part of the breakfast!

– Joakim Engström, KTH Stockholm, Baltic Sea Discovery expedition with MTM Research Centre, August 12, 2014
This post originally appeared on the Baltic Sea Expedition 2014 blog here

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