Willem Weertmans’ Blog

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August 5, 2017

Got some of that good sleep today. Woke up at 0755 for my 0800-1200 shift then took a nice hour and a half nap afterwards. Helped scrub down some equipment and took a few time lapses before my nap so I also got a good opportunity to change out of my stinking clothes from scrubbing down algae from the recovered instruments.

This morning the breakfast was tasty. They had these delicious breakfast rolls that were artfully cut at a forty-five-degree angle perpendicular to their length and filled with spicy eggy, meaty goodness. They also had some plain old delicious eggs and sausage. To top it off I just skunked two of the APL engineers at cribbage. So, I am flying high.

Right now, Jason is unburying a junction box at the 600 m site that was knocked over in 2015, but still operational. The J-box is partially submerged in fine grained sediments so they are going to unplug all the wet mates and then using a ‘vacuum’ suck out all the sediment and then flip it over. It is going to be a long dive.

This morning on my 0800-1200 shift Jason deployed a SciP to the 200 m profiler. It was uneventful there was a moment where the Jason’s cable pushed up against the profiler while Jason was doing work below it but nothing bad happened. The ropes holding the SciP pod in place for deployment did not come untied as they should have. Matt got to use his knife and I think got a good kick out of using the line ‘now this is a knife’. So that was cool.

Willem signing off.

August 3, 2017

The days seem to take forever and then suddenly they are done. It’s becoming hard to remember on which day what happened. Sleeping has become much easier and I think I have finally fully gotten my sea legs. It is funny the way my stance has changed; the feet tend to point outwards a little more and I unconsciously brace myself against the roll of the ship. I think once I get back to land it will feel strange.

Today was a hairy one for the Jason team. Despite it being a beautiful day there were some gnarly currents and wave action. The third dive to the 200m profiler was extended almost 2.5hrs as the team carefully repositioned the R/V Revelle to allow the best approaches to and from the system. The ship for much of the dive was in the troughs of the waves and consequently pitched and rolled a ton.

On another note my time-lapse project is continuing to go well. The other day we stuck the GoPro on a long carbon fiber pole off the stern of the boat and got some sweet footage of the z-drives. So far it is coming out fairly… abstract but I like it the others seem to as well. I need to figure out what music to play to it that is not a copy right infringement. The food the last few days has been great. The chef made this rosemary barley that was incredibly good I have never tasted barley so good.

Willem signing out!

August 1, 2017

Yesterday was a good day. Jason started the day with a dive to Axial Base to change out LJ03A – SN011 with LJ03A – SN007. I was on watch from 0400 – 1200 and it was quite hard to stay awake. Luckily, I got to get in a quick nap after they started coming back up to the surface, and another nap after my shift ended. Later in the after a quick steam to Axial Caldera, Jason did a ‘naked’ dive to survey the area for a future deployment of new instruments on the diffuse flow vent tiny towers.

Axial Caldera was amazing. We got to see the International District Hydrothermal Field with the highlight being the top of El Gordo. After that Jason traversed across the surface of the 2011 lava flow, essentially an underwater lava lake. The process of the lava cool in cold water creates a beautiful and alien environment, we observed many amazing arch structures, pillow basalts, crinkled and twisted lava flows. A brief sighting of an octopus and many spider crabs with tube worms touched the soul of my inner biologist. We ended the dive with the survey of snow blowers coated with beautiful white bacterial matts, tube worms, and limpets.

I got to sleep in today. The ship is in transit to Slope Base to continue the work that was being done at the start of the cruise before technical difficulties delayed the progress. So, I had no work to do during my morning watch and consequently got to get some sweet, sweet sleep.

Willem signing off.

July 30, 2017

Uneventful day. After an early morning shift which I mentioned in my last blog. We have been in transit to Axial since around ~11am weather has been good the ship has not been rocking very much. I shot a few time lapses of the water moving by. Played cribbage with Julia, Monique, and Eve. Watched some park and rec after a fantastic dinner. Then Finished an entire game of monopoly with Monique, Eve, and Alex which took about three hours.

July 29, 2017

It is July 29th and this Is my first entry – there has been a lot going on. The cruise so far has been smooth sailing with only two technical hiccups. There was an issue with the latching mechanism lining up properly with the mooring platforms which the Jason crew had to pull an all-nighter to fix and another with the latching mechanism on the vehicle. The hockle will take 18 hrs to fix, so we are steaming out to Axial Seamount.

On the way, out of port I had a brief bit of queasiness but my system has acclimatized to the rolling of the ship so check off that fear. I have been spending my down time taking time lapses of different Jason activities, slowly reading ‘Benjamin Franklin, an American Life’ by Walter Isaacson, and playing card games with the other students.

This morning from 0400-0800, I served my first full shift logging entries in the Jason control room. Part way through Julie came in to let Carlos and I know there were dolphins off port bow and that she would cover for us so that we could catch the site, it was amazing, dolphins plus sunrise equals good sites. The dive went off without a hitch – the J-box was switched out and the hydrophone and CTD packages replaced and they were all re-connected to the low-voltage box. Right before latching onto the old J-box and heading for the surface we found a large white octopus siting right on the J-box’s locking mechanism. The pilot carefully placed the pins in the latch to give it time to get out of the way. It hung around for a little bit but luckily didn’t take a ride up with the system.

Hopefully the future brings more good times Willem signing out.