Leg 2 of the VISIONS ’13 cruise ended at 09:00 PDT on July 18 when the Thompson tied up at the NOAA Marine Operations Center dock in Newport, OR. Turnaround for Leg 3 included personnel changes in the science, engineering, and ROPOS groups; loading of equipment to be utilized and deployed on Leg 3; satellite antennae repairs; connector repairs; and a handoff in operational knowledge between the off-going and oncoming personnel.
The scheduled departure of the Thompson at 18:00 PDT on July 19 was postponed to allow time for an engine part to be delivered and installed. Leg 3 began when the ship set sail at 20:15 PDT on July 20. Students onboard as part of the Research at Sea program enjoyed the moment while huddling in the wind at the bow as the vessel passed under the bridge across Yaquina Bay. They were clearly excited to be underway, anticipating their at-sea adventure. The ship was bound for the 2900-m deep Base Slope study site at the base of the continental shelf.
Once on site, weather conditions prevented deploying ROPOS with the added weight of the attached junction box. After waiting several hours for the waves to calm, the decision was made to proceed onward to the Axial Seamount Eastern Caldera study site, an 18-hour transit.