July 17, 2013
This morning I awoke to discover that earlier there was another whale spotting, though this time it was captured on camera! After breakfast I wandered down to the ROPOS control room where we were looking at different methane seeps. Finally on the last true day of the cruise the excitement is coming in bundles rather than the trickle of excitement between transiting that we had the past week.
Still working on the video, though figuring out how it will be completed in time is a different story.
Tina came in saying that there were porpoises in front of the bow! Grabbing my camera I dashed up to the second deck (since the first deck has been closed for painting the majority of the week) and flicked my camera to video mode. There they were right off the port side of the bow!
Later on when I didn’t have my camera with me I decided to take another trip to the bow alone. When I got up there looking out to the water, low and behold a ~15 foot whale surfaced only a few yards away from the ship. It was magical
I helped Rick with nutrient samples collecting it from ROPOS!!!!! I finally managed to finish (fingers crossed) my video. I spent the afternoon between whale watching and working on my video.
At some point I got tired of staring at my video for the final edits and deemed it finished! With that I went outside and to the starboard side of the stern. What I saw was one of the most magical scenes I have seen. A symphony of sea animals greeted the side of the vessel. Roughly 20-30 porpoises greeted the surface like the natural synchronized swimmers they are. This happened for roughly 10-20 minutes and during this time there was another whale on the port side of the stern. Of course this all happened when I was without a camera by my side, but you can take my word on it that it happened!!! It was the most amazing sight!
Later on I ended up helping deploy a CTD cast and collecting nutrient, oxygen, and chlorophyll samples. My sturdy hiking shoes are falling apart quite literally and soon will need either a replacement or duct tape.
It has truly been a perfect day to end my leg on the VISIONS’13 cruise.
July 16th, 2013
Yesterday mostly consisted of transiting from Axial Seamount to Hydrate Ridge. Unlike the day before, there was barely a wind if any, though the waves still rocked the ship more so than usual. I made some progress on my video edits, though still not quite finished. I spent 5 minutes in the main lab and wrote a little something for the event that was set for 19:45.
As tradition on the OOI cruises, we had Poetry Night! We gathered in the crowded library till all chairs were filled and then began the poetry reading, music playing, people singing, and storytelling- it was all so good. My favorites were those done by our videographer/photographer, Ben, who shared his musical talent singing with the guitar, which ironically really should have been recorded; and Dana, one of the ship hands on deck, with her magical word weaving that always entrances her audience as she told a tale she wrote titled There’s Nothing We Can Do.
It’s funny how with most groups of people on land it seems you have to pull teeth to get them to share poetry or readings, but on this boat almost everyone shared something and there was never a lack of enthusiasm to partake. The poem I shared was titled, The Midnight to 4AM Watch:
The Midnight to 4AM Watch
Oh the many and weary hours
Spent as ROPOS navigates and scours
For cable laying that may or may not work
For the fibers of a cable end that were twerked
With perseverance we continue to strive
To adjust, to rearrange, to oblige
As the weather turns and changes our plans
We were able to see Axial again
Our will power will not be defeated
Though our complications may be heated
For a vision of the future of science to live by
Long live the plans of RSN and OOI
Once the tradition dwindled to an end, the library emptied to a mere few. I decided to stay and throw darts for a while and then head down to the main lab before going to bed. In the main lab, Julie mentioned how she was going out to the bow- an opportunity to join that I wasn’t going to turn down any time soon. We meandered up the stairs to the second deck where the wind was a gentle breeze if anything and the waves calmed down where it was so smooth that it almost seemed as if we were on station. Scoping out into the night, Julie and I were able to witness some bioluminescence on the wave tops, which we almost mistook as white caps if the sea wasn’t so calm. Occasionally there would be a green glow, ever so dimly but definitely present. It seemed to be a wonderful way to spend an evening, full of wonderment and glee, viewing the little phytoplankton that we study in oceanography.
July 15th, 2013
After some glorious calm days at sea that was spent laying hundreds of meters of cable, the waves are picking up again. I believe the idea is that we can still deploy ROPOS, but the waves make it so that ROPOS cannot carry heavy packages into the sea during such weather.
Trying to figure out how to improve my video as currently it is just talking heads. Eek! Before when I was partnering with Julie Ann to make a video of ROPOS we had the opposite problem - I managed to film a good portion of the deployments, but we hadn’t had an interview. Figuring out what goes where let alone create some clips (I have one in mind for showing patchiness) is going to take some time and now the days are dwindling to a mere two or so to work on it and be done. I haven’t meant to procrastinate at any level, but when changing a project halfway through and then trying to coordinate with the people you want to interview and Ben, the very busy cameraman, there are some expected delays.
At some point today there was a whale sighting off the tale on the starboard side. Sadly I wasn’t there but definitely will keep my eyes open for any more sightings for the rest of the cruise.
Yesterday I finally managed to watch Life Aquatic… it was not what I was expecting. Don’t know how I feel about that movie.
July 13th, 2013
The day began with the midnight to 4 watch, where one of the connectors was unable to be connected to the junction box. Once on deck, it was found that the connector had been damaged (this will be repaired in port).
This morning we were greeted with another glorious day with the calm blue sea sparkling like a sapphire jewel; perfect day for interviewing Danny and Owen on their device (which has yet to be named) that measures patchiness. I am really thrilled about being part of a project that requires filming, but was a bit nervous having to be put on the spot trying to come up with questions to prompt Owen and Danny to receive the answers I wanted to hear for my movie. Although I had the basic questions figured out beforehand, being able to come up with new ones off the top of my head was a bit more difficult. It was cool working with Ben, the cameraman on the ship and seeing a bit of how the interviewing process is done.
It appears we are going to be at Axial for a day or two more attempting to lay more cable on the seafloor.
July 12, 2013
During the midnight to four AM watch, we were able to see ROPOS perform when it wasn’t during a decent. The ROPOS crew was testing cables at the junction box, MJO1A. Since sunrise it has been absolutely glorious outside today. Calm seas and beautiful weather prompted many of us cooped up scientists, engineers, and crew alike to come out from our dwellings and enjoy the sunrays from the deck and bow. For the first time I didn’t need a light jacket to be outside, in fact it is practically shorts weather. With such a glorious day our camera man, Ben, didn’t give up the chance to get some lovely shots of the deployment of ROPOS from the emergency boat. With the deployment of the emergency boat, one student could join the camera crew for a chance of a lifetime. Out of six students, Brendan and I decided to withdraw ourselves from the raffle since we’ve both been on it before. Leaving the remainder few a greater chance for the prize when they put their names into a hard hat. As the moment drew near the name was drawn and Claire was the lucky one to go out on a mini adventure. The majority of the main lab emptied out onto the decks to watch the duel deployments. I cannot emphasize enough of how brilliant the weather is today, absolute paradise!!! Once the emergency boat was back onboard, the excitement slowly ebbed away enough for us to head back in to the labs to work.
The majority of the students onboard are working on short video stories of what certain instruments are and how they work. I am loving every minute of the video making process as I get to play cameraman and put my little ‘point and shoot’ camera to work. So far it seems I will be working on a couple of these shorts and one of them is near completion at least for the film work with only the absence of the interview from being finished. There are approximately six more days for Leg 2 so stay tuned to see what will become of our projects.
July 11, 2013
ROPOS is currently out of the water due to the electrical complications, which they are still searching for a solution. Hopefully it will be figured out soon, but in the meantime there is just a still frame of ROPOS in the surface of the water. The beauty of scientific cruises is that most times things do not go as plan; sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. So in a way it teaches perseverance and adjusting to new situations. Because ROPOS is out of commission currently, we are making the best use of the time by deploying CTD casts. One tradition on these cruises is Styrofoam cup decorating. After designing our cups, they are sent down in a laundry bag with the CTD where the pressure from the water shrinks the cups to roughly a quarter of their original size during a shallow cast (size depends on the depth and amount of time spent at that depth).
July 10th, 2013
It’s been a wonderful couple days back on the R/V Thompson where education at sea is at its finest. In the beginning of a cruise it is always a worry to see if you get seasick or not; starting the cruise with a bit of rough weather it appears that I may be one of the lucky ones who avoid suffering from it. My biggest challenge currently has been readjusting my sleep schedule around a midnight to 4am shift. Fortunately there has always been activity during the past few shifts to keep busy. On my first shift I was able to participate in the deployment and retrieval of a CTD where we collected numerous water samples that will be analyzed later in a lab for dissolved methane concentrations for Brendan’s senior project.
Yesterday, after 16 hours or so of transiting, the ROPOS crew was ready for the deployment of ROPOS by the time my shift rolled around. Once ROV ROPOS is in the water, it is always lovely to watch the descent into the water column since the marine snow makes it feel as if we are cruising through space rather than the ocean. During the descent ROPOS passed by salps, jellyfish, squid, and a school of thin silver fish.
Currently the ROV ROPOS is investigating the secondary node that was deployed earlier. It’s amazing to see the robotic arms be able to handle something as delicate as cables when they have the capability and strength to pull off chunks of lava.