July 9. 2018
For Sunday’s dinner we were provided with grilled steak, baked brie, brussels sprouts, green bean and salad bar. For dessert we had cake because it was one of the crew member’s birthdays. I think I ate a half pound of brie. I might need a heavy dose of fiber to help move the cheese through me.
Bing and I did not have a shift last night because the ship was in transit to the next site. I was able to get a bit more sleep and I was able to make it to breakfast. We had pancakes, bacon, link sausage, patty sausage, fresh fruit with yogurt and granola. YUM!
For lunch the chefs whipped up beef stroganoff, Portobello burgers, mac and cheese bites, black beans, fresh bread, and salad bar.
My afternoon shift with Bing was a short one, we watched Jason finishing up replacing a SPA about 200 meters down and then return to the surface.
The water at this site is very calm. We are told that the waves will pick up tomorrow and to make sure we secure our computers and other stuff down in the lab. The weather may cause us to return to shore a day early.
The ship is now in transit to the next dive site about a 5 hour steam towards the Oregon Shelf site so that we can deploy a BEP and swap out some CAMDS.
July 8, 2018
For dinner last night we were served chicken and mushroom, steelhead salmon, rice, veggies, fresh bread, and salad bar.
Last night’s shift with Bing was watching Jason replace a HPIES instrument with one from 2016. We saw a skate at 2600 meters (8500 feet) below the surface. I had no idea skates lived that deep.
I was able to get six and a half hours of sleep before lunch. It was nice, but I could have slept more.
The chefs served up “Sunday Funday”: spaghetti, garlic bread, tomato vegetable soup, and salad bar. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I ate spaghetti. It was delicious and a nice surprise.
Today’s afternoon shift Bing and I just watched ROV Jason rise from the depths of 2600 meters. We had a mandatory fire drill just after our shift started followed by a video that lasted about 20 minutes.
We are now in transit for roughly 16 hours to our next dive site that is just at the base of the continental rise. The weather report shows that we are to meet some rough weather that will most likely cause dives to cease.
Now it is time for the scientist party to take a group picture.
July 7, 2018
For dinner last night we were pleasantly provided with Texas beef brisket, sweet potato mash, cauliflower with cheese sauce, steamed spinach with tomato jam, brussel sprouts, salad bar, and for dessert: meringue cookies with kiwi and strawberries. YUM! I was so full that I had to take a 2 hour nap which felt amazing because I slept very deeply.
Last afternoons shift ended with watching ROV Jason being deployed. Bing and I were relieved from shift just as Jason was guiding a 5 meter thermistor array that surveyed the bottom for 5 hours.
Last night’s shift with Bing started out with ROV Jason being brought back to the ship. After the deck crew switched out the 5 meter thermistor with another instrument, Bing and I watched ROV Jason deployed to the deep world under the sea. We were able to see school of fish between 25 and 50 meters below the surface. I believe the school of fish was either herring or anchovies.
I again skipped breakfast for rest. For lunch the chefs prepared Cuban sandwiches, open faced tuna sandwiches, fried mushrooms, French fries, and of course salad bar.
I started to prepare for my interviews of different: scientists, engineers, Res Tech’s, Marine Tech’s, data manager, and students. I will be asking questions about how life aboard a research is different than life on dry land for an extended period of time.
July 6, 2018
Last night’s shift in the Jason control van was pretty chill. We replaced some instruments for two scientists on top of a large lava lake. We saw a fairly large crab; I think it was a Japanese spider crab, and some starfish and rattail fish.
For dinner last night we were served shredded pork tacos with all of the fixings and salad bar. I was able to wolf down three of them till I reached my limit. They were delicious.
I was able to get six and a half hours of sleep and woke up well rested.
While grabbing some lunch before my afternoon shift with Bing I was informed that there was a power failure with ROV Jason and the last mission has to be aborted just before Jason had reached the bottom. Jason has just been brought to the ship and the crew and scientist are looking into what the issue is. They are attempting to revive Jason and bring it back to fully functioning life. Viva la Jason!
I am now on standby until Jason is operational again. I hope the issue will be able to be remedied quickly but out things do not go always as planned.
July 5, 2018
Last night’s shift in the ROV control van proved to be another memorable experience. We checked out a couple of spectacular chimneys named: El Guapo (at least 16 meters high) and 9m Chimney that had a lot of growth and biological life added to it since it was seen last year. The images were amazing.
I was able to get a good nights rest even with all excitement from the bottom of the ocean. I skipped breakfast again and do not know if I will even eat breakfast for the remainder of this cruise since it happens during my sleeping time. My stomach does not seem to mind though. For lunch today we had a pizza party. The chefs made several kinds and the food was delicious as always. I was able to scarf down a couple of slices before my afternoon shift.
The weather has changed just a bit from the last couple of days from unbelievably calm and dry to just a little bit of swells and drizzling rain.
Today’s afternoon ship ended up to be not as exciting as the last few days since Bing and I started when the Jason ROV had completed its current mission and we get to watch Jason being hauled back up to the ship…. I guess we can’t get all the exciting shifts right? Got to let the other students have opportunities to see all the neat stuff under the sea. From 1500 meters down it takes the Jason ROV about an hour and a half to two hours to return to the ship with all of the equipment has replaced and others.
My routine on the ship has seemed to become comfortable. Though I do miss some of the luxuries of life on dry land, but those will be back in my life in about a week.
July 4, 2018
Last night’s shift in the Jason ROV van was unbelievable!! We were able to switch out HD cameras and look at the Mushroom vent without Jason’s lights and view the vent with just the lights from the HD camera. Wow, what a sight!! Being able to see science at work in this manner is inspiring and amazing. Everyone aboard has been a pleasure to meet and spend time with. Last night at dinner I sat at the same table as the captain and spoke with him briefly. I think there is extra salt in his blood.
I missed breakfast again as I chose to get my rest instead. For lunch we were served sausage rolls, potato rolls, tomato soup and some other entrée that I did not recognize, and of course salad bar.
Today’s afternoon shift with Bing was again spectacular. We took down some more sensory equipment to an area called the International District. We saw an old chimney stack called El Antiguo (The old one). Then we switched out what is referred to by oceanographers and scientist a MASSP-RAS-PPS, I am not sure what the whole abbreviation stands for but it was cool. While on the ocean floor, at almost 1600 meters below sea level, we saw an giant fish that looked like it was an ancient black cod, aka sable fish or butterfish if you are from Hawaii. The fish was almost 4-5 feet long!
Today for dinner we are getting burgers and such to celebrate the 4th. Happy 4th of July to everyone back home.
Hopefully tonight’s shift with Bing will prove to be another fantastic opportunity to back down to the bottom of the world and see more vents and past underwater lave fields.
July 3, 2018
I was able to get a good night’s rest!! I woke up refreshed and happy. I slept through breakfast again but I much preferred the extra sleep.
For lunch we were served southwest chicken sandwiches with deep fried pickles and sweet potato fries. It was great. The chefs on board really know how to please the appetites of what seems to be everyone aboard. One of the chefs is from England and was super excited that England beat Columbia in the World Cup. Ole Ole Ole Ole!!
Today’s shift in the Jason ROV van was awesome. We sent down Jason to 1540 meters (5052 feet) to switch out an older JBox and CTD. It was working right on top of lava rock produced by the Axial underwater volcano. I saw some rat tail fish and sea stars. Next , I am told we are going to put a camera between two of the black smoker vents so they both can be seen from one vantage point. How cool is that?
Dinner tonight was curry. We had curry lamb, curry bread, vegetarian curry, samosas, all with yogurt sauce and of course salad bar. For dessert I had a snickers ice cream bar.
I have to admit that being aboard and seeing science at work over 5000 feet underwater is amazing. This is what I thought about when I declared oceanography as my major. Getting to this point in my educational career feels very rewarding and gratifying; especially since it all has not been the easiest of roads to go down. But, with perseverance and positive attitude I am happy to be one year away from my bachelor’s degree.
Now for some rest before my next shift in the ROV van.
July 2, 2018
I spent about 9 hours in my bunk last night. The movement of the ship, while it was quite noticeable, did not bother me, but almost seemed like I was being rocked to sleep. Unfortunately the noise of the waves slapping against the ship kept me awake for 4 hours but I eventually was able to fall asleep for a few hours after that. I have come up with a name for my bunk, while perhaps not the best of names, “The Coffin.”
Today’s lunch consisted of baked ziti, garlic bread, onion rings, potato wedges, and a salad bar with fresh baked cookies for dessert.
The ship has made it to the first site and the CTD was deployed first to a depth of 220 meters and Niskin bottle samples were taken at various depths as the CTD was pulled back to vessel up the water column. Samples from Niskin bottles were retrieved so water was checked for oxygen, CO2, PCO2, nutrient, chlorophyll, and salinity levels.
Upon retrieval of the CTD the Jason ROV was deployed and I took my first shift in the control van. The ROV was sent down to a depth of 185 meters and made its way to the pod attached to a platform with its base secured at 2600 meters. By the end of the shift ROV had made it to the pod to check out its condition.
Tonight dinner was ribs, brussle sprouts, steamed cauliflower in a cheese sauce, roasted potatoes, salad bar and for dessert pecan pie.
Went down to cabin and tried to get some rest at 6 pm because the vessel is pretty much staying in place and the motion caused by the sea was minimal. I was able to doze off for a few patches but for some reason I think the hydraulics room is close to my cabin because the noise was louder than expected especially since when the ship is underway I cannot hear the engines much, as I mentioned in yesterdays blog.
Crawled out of my bunk at 8:30pm and took another “Navy” shower. I am trying to make sure I am not the stinky one on the ship. I don’t think anyone wants to be that person.
Tonight was my first full shift in the Jason ROV Van, but unfortunately there was an issue with connecting an instrument and the whole shift was trying to figure out the problem.
July 1, 2018
Today the ship prepares for Leg 2 of the Cabled Array Visions’18 cruise.
Getting settled in our cabins takes more getting used to than originally thought. The bunk space available is very confined and cramped. The showers are small, but just large enough to take “Navy” showers as the captain and crew have requested everyone on the ship respect. Get in, get wet, turn the water off, soap up, and then rinse off. This is all in an effort to conserve the vessels fresh water supply. With crew and scientist making up 50+ shipmate’s conservation is key in making sure that all will have enough fresh water to last the next 12 days. I managed to cut my shower time to about 6 minutes. The knobs for the water pressure and hot water were confusing but figured out that there is not a knob for cold and hot water but one knob for hot and cold and the other for water pressure. I’m sure after another shower or two to fully get comfortable with water knobs.
We had a mandatory safety meeting at 10am for all new to the ship, followed by fire and abandon ship drill. We were instructed how to release the life boats and put on survival suits.
The vessel was able to leave the dock in Newport, Or., at 3:30pm, a half an hour earlier than expected. The boats engines are much quieter than I thought they would be. I didn’t even know the boat left the dock until I looked out one of the starboard side windows in the lab and saw the landscape moving.
The food on the boat has been great. For lunch we were served fish and chips and for dinner: grilled steak, green beans, salad bar and carrot cake.
As the sun set I enjoyed a few movies in the lounge until midnight and headed to bed for my first night out at sea.