Erin Haphey’s Blog

The most incredible thing happened on the 5th, right after dinner. I went outside to read Jurassic Park on the bow. It was cloudy and rather dull, but not very cold. As I was sitting enjoying my book, I heard someone call my name. I look over and see Brendan, a graduate who works in the bio lab most of the time. He pointed off the portside of the ship. I saw two black backs of, what I now think are, Dall’s Porpoises. They were beautiful. Gliding and zipping alongside the Thompson, and we were cruising at about 10 knots at the time. Then we walked down to the very front, where someone was leaning over the bow looking down. There were about a half dozen porpoises, riding along the bow. It was absolutely amazing. I didn’t bother trying to take a picture; it wasn’t worth it. Brendan said they ride the water around the bow, because the ship forces so much water around it that they don’t need to swim very much. You could tell just by watching them – they were gliding around each other, going ahead and falling behind. That was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Other than that, the 5th was consumed by helping Mitch clean up his cables, and listening to Bob talk about his experiences and his work, and by looking at some of Dana’s pictures from scuba diving in places like Cocos Island and Indonesia. Now I have more motivation than ever to get some underwater housing for my camera! I would love to get a good picture of those gorgeous porpoises.

On the 6th I woke to an absolutely freezing room, which I later forgot about when I got to see where we were docked. Maybe it’s just because I hadn’t seen land in a week, but Esquimalt is beautiful. Actually, that entire area is unbelievably gorgeous.

We went to Victoria, and walked around for a few hours. The entire group walked together, and when we got to Victoria we all split up. Kearstin, Malea, Emily, Lauren and I all walked for an hour down to the Fisherman’s Wharf and had ice cream. After finishing that (which was delicious), we all got into a water taxi and went back downtown. We got lunch at a pizza place and then split up; Emily and I went to wander around and the rest of the group went to meet Brendan, Cole, and Ian at a pub. We stumbled upon a beautiful catholic cathedral – I’ve never seen so much stained glass in one place. I wanted to take pictures but I restrained, and now I’m regretting it. It was incredible, from the early 1800s. It was so beautiful, describing it won’t do it any justice. After getting a few small souvenirs and enjoying the Canadian atmosphere, we took a cab ride back and met up with Ian, Cole, Doug, and a few others at the entrance to the dock. They looked like they had enjoyed their time in Canada, and didn’t hesitate to point out how sunburnt I was. Thanks guys.

But in all seriousness, I had an amazing time in Canada, and as much fun as this trip was, I am excited to be back home in Seattle. I will really miss all the people here; the wonderful students, the crew, and the researchers who never discourage you from asking questions. I only wish I could have spent more time logging with ROPOS – it was actually a lot of fun! I really hope I get to do something like this again.

I would just like to send out one more huge thank you to everyone involved in the VISIONS'15 cruise and everyone who helped out – this was an amazing experience and I’ll never forget it.

August 4

I woke up early again on the 3rd, hoping to get some work done on my project before starting my watch. I ended up watching the ROPOS reference videos of dives from leg 1 and 2 with Cole, which was interesting in of itself. We were on hold for a weather check until 0800, then 0830, then 0900… You can see where this is going. I ended up out on deck, helping Linda, Emily, Cole, and Ian take apart and wash sensors that were on the BEP (Benthic Experiment Package). The BEP sits on the ocean floor and the sensors attached to its inner frame take measurements of all sorts of things, like dissolved CO2 and pH.

The food is amazing – we had gyros for lunch on the 3rd, and just about every meal I’ve had has been delicious. I’m not looking forward to going back to my apartment, where I actually have to prepare the food myself; such a foreign concept.

After completing the last scheduled dive on the 3rd, it was decided to use the extra time we have and transit to Axial Seamount, for a quick exploration dive. The transit to Axial, however, is not quick. Erica asked Skip how long the transit would be, and he replied “20 hours” In a casual manner.

I woke up late on the 4th, just before 10 in the morning. Thankfully we were still transiting, so I didn’t have much to do either way.We got to Axial at around 1300, and quickly began deploying ROPOS. Kaite was wonderful enough to show me a good place to take pictures of ROPOS being deployed, and I got some really nice ones! We ended up doing two dives, in order to collect a few things from the profiler that wasn’t working. After a nice hour or so talking to everyone about what they planned on doing when we got to Victoria, I ended up helping Lauren with collecting some water sampling from some tubing for a few hours. We have a 36 hour transit to get through, and we begin packing and cleaning up tomorrow, so it’s time for me to get some much needed rest!

August 2

A dive was scheduled at 0830, and I immensely looked forward to it. After the last dive during my watch was postponed until later that night, I’m excited to start logging ROPOS activity. I’ve begun working on my project:  finishing and cleaning up the biology catalog, and then taking an organism from that catalog and creating a video about how that organism functions from multiple papers and other sources. That has taken up a bit of my time, and kept me busy when we were waiting for the weather to be quiet enough for us to dive.

I can’t believe it’s already August! It feels like I was starting my Summer Term  class just a few days ago, and in 5 days I’ll be back in Seattle. It certainly doesn’t feel, or look, like August for that matter. It’s gray, foggy, and gray outside. On the 31st of July we had some sun and blue skies, but now it’s so foggy that it’s hard to see the horizon. I hope it clears up before the cruise is over; I would love some good pictures of the equipment before we demobilize in Victoria.

I woke up early this morning so that I could have a few minutes of good wifi before the rest of the boat woke up and started using it. I was also able to get enough cell service to make a call or two!

I just completed my first watch where I was a part of the dive, and it was very interesting to watch and to log. Everything is logged, and everything is done very carefully to avoid mistakes – after all, this equipment is extremely expensive!

I think I’ve worked hard enough for one morning – time for a nap!

July 31

 I woke up July 30th, groggy and disoriented from anxious, nervous sleep. I walked down and met Erica, Cole, and Eric, whom I would share a 6 hour drive down from Seattle to Newport. The drive was quiet, interrupted by small stops to restrooms and gas stations. We got to the dock at 12:45pm, 5 hours and 30 minutes after we left.

After depositing my bags and settling into my room, we all went on a short tour of the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, the ship that would be my home for the next week. We went wandering around the wharf, and looked for starfish in tide pools by the jetty.

We left at 10am the next morning, after an 8am safety meeting. The transit didn’t take much time, but the difference between moving in places like Puget Sound and moving in open water is astounding. Safe to say, I haven’t gotten seasick!

After wandering the boat for a few hours, I decided to stay in the ROPOS room where they were controlling and monitoring the ROV. My shift for working there is from 8am-12pm, a good time in my opinion.

I haven’t completely decided on a project; hopefully by the end of the next few days I’ll have a cement idea to begin building from.