Jasmine Durant’s Blogs Leg 4

August 1, 2018

Slope base was reached at about 01:30. The forward thrusters that kick in when we’re just floating on site woke me up.
I eventually fell asleep and then was up at 07:00 for an 08:00 watch in the JASON van. The dive was mostly complete. 2600 meters of ascent to 100 meters and then a beacon removal from a deep profiler float was done. Recovery of JASON happened without incident.
Tonight around 21:00, we will begin the steam to Seattle.

July 31, 2018

The day started with the end of a JASON dive, putting Romina and I in the van for about an hour. After documenting the recovery of JASON with stills, we went to see what else the day would bring since it was still our watch until noon.
Not much was going on. Most of the things that need to be packed up are personal items in the labs. All other equipment had already been stowed until landfall.
We’re on our way to slope base and that’s a 16-hour transit.

July 30, 2018

At 8 AM, Romina and I were on watch for the day’s first dive. The plan was only to find an “undervator” that was dropped last year at sea.
During our watch, JASON went to the sea floor and began a grid search in 150-meter swathes. This went on our whole shift and really only yielded really neat photos of the sea floor biology. We saw some jellyfish, rattails, lots of sea cucumbers, brittle stars, a few star fish, and some spider crabs!

Also, there was a few column formations on the sea floor that were like something out of a sea floor fantasy. Very cool!
At dinner, I had heard that they found the undervator a bit north of where they expected it to be. I headed out to the van to see the undervator. The top portion of it was covered in (what was surmised to be) oxidation formations. Eve and Evan said there was also some limpets that had made the undervator their home. I’m excited to see it come out of the water!

July 29, 2018

As morning came around, I knew we had to get ready for an intense dive for COVIS operations. At 8:30 AM, I was ready. I documented JASON diving with the “undervator” attached. That was impressive! The skills and knowledge of the JASON team and associated science members is unparalled.

The dive started with a descent to the bottom at the Inferno and Mushroom sites. COVIS was deployed yesterday and I believe it was still sending out data. The “undervator” had 5 separate instruments to be deployed at 5 sites.

Everywhere you look at the hydrothermal vents, there’s life to be seen. None of these creatures let the hellish temperatures and extreme ocean pressure stop them from existing. It is wonderfully amazing!

At noon, the dive was still going on when I was relieved from watch. As I type this, the dive is still underway. The next 36 hours will be crammed with JASON diving for COVIS operations.

Dinner was surf and turf barbeque tonight. Steak and squid were on the menu. I passed on the steak, but the squid was delectable and seared to perfection. Now I’m gearing up for my 8 PM watch in the JASON van. I’m looking forward to seeing the thriving life down there!

July 28, 2018

This morning the JASON ROV was deployed to install a deep profiler about 500 meters down. After successfully installing the profiler, JASON came up to about 100 meters to remove the beacon from the deep profiler’s float. The whole operation went swimmingly and happened with relative quickness. I think pizza may have been a motivating factor.

Pizza party on the Pacific ocean?! Yes. Check. That was pretty amazing today. A huge thank you is owed to the cooks aboard this ship, Richard and Brian. Without them, we may not have been as energized as we are.

The next 48 hours are for work with COVIS. It’s primarily axial plume imaging (from my very general understanding). Geophysicist Karen and Leonid are in charge of the project.

JASON’s dive for COVIS was pretty amazing! The vents at Inferno and Mushroom sites were incredible to see. The hottest temperature recorded was at Inferno at 307 °C! There was a lot of biology on the vents. Many tube worms, scale worms, and some snails.

July 27, 2018

Last night had two CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth measurements) casts. I was off shift at midnight and at that time the second one was about halfway done. I talked to Julie today and she said after sampling, it was 2 AM! These scientists mean business when tests need to get done!

JASON has had one dive so far at axial seamount base. It was at the hydrothermal vents and was very exciting! New precipitation formations were at one of the sites. These formations are very fragile, but are fun to look at.

The dive was heavily documented in terms of film and photos. So hopefully those can be seen soon!
As much as I’d like to have stayed up and watch the rest of today’s dive, the six hours of sleep I got required a supplementary nap.

July 26, 2018

Last night’s transit to the next site was not kind to me. It would seem I’m not meant for ocean work. I attempted to help Julie analyze the samples from two niskins from JASON’s dive yesterday. This seemed to go well until I broke out in a warm sweat. I can’t say whether it was from being in a small lab area, the smell of acetone, or the precision work required of me. Either way, I was not doing well!
By the grace of the ocean, I was able to sleep through the rest of the transit.

8 AM this morning, JASON was prepped and ready for a calibration dive with a test profiler attached to the front. That dive went accordingly and without consequence. The next dive was equipped with the profiler that was supposed to be installed. The pitch did not allow for proper installation of the profiler and so JASON was brought up to add compensatory weights.
Several rounds of determining the proper weight distribution ensued.

July 25, 2018

Last night’s shift in the JASON van was fairly eventful. We saw one dolphin 3 times, or 3 dolphins three different times, it really depends on your outlook. There was also a shark! I’m an avid shark fan, so this was especially exciting! I’m not sure of the species, but there are 16 sharks that are common to the coastal waters of Oregon. I can say with a fair amount of certainty, it was not a great white shark.

After the JASON van shift, I attempted some modicum of sleep. This went in my favor, as I was absolutely exhausted. Then up again at 7 AM.
JASON was on another dive, and so Romina and I went to our stations in the van. This was a technical dive to remove the beacon off the deep profiler float and fire two niskins for sampling.

The niskins are electronically signaled canisters designed to open and allow water in at a desired depth. The collected waters are analyzed in a variety of ways. With Julie Nelson’s guidance, Romina and I went through a crash course to start just that!

Three different analyses were done on these two particular niskin samples. Oxygen, chlorophyll, and salinity. Each collection of water requires three rinses with the sample water before being housed in the containers. I found the oxygen to be the most intriguing, as it’s actually a chemical precipitation process to keep said oxygen within the sample so it’s not lost through dissipation.

July 24, 2018

Today was a good day. The seas have maintained their calm nature for the time being. This morning’s 8 AM shift was spend documenting the deep profiler being deployed. I was lucky enough to be invited onto the scaffolding to remove yell grips that take tension off the cable line. I would say it is quite a daunting task that’s not for the faint of heart!

Lunch today included smoked tuna that was absolutely amazing! And a burger that was equally delicious (can you tell food is the way to my heart?)

After lunch, the student researchers and I, along with Julie Nelson took some group photos in our work gear. It was really nice to return to the deck that I hadn’t seen since Friday evening due to rough seas.

Dinner had spicy stuffed triangles and saffron rice among the choices. I indulged in those. Concluding my day, I’m writing this and looking forward to my 8PM shift in the Jason Van with Romina!

July 23, 2018

Last night the seas were a bit rough, but I believe my sea legs are now fully supported aboard this vessel as I slept quite soundly. JASON had a dive last night and Romina and I were scheduled for an 8 AM watch, but the dive was already complete. This put JASON four hours ahead of schedule.

The morning has consisted of breakfast and working on my blog, poster introduction for GHC Fish Lab, and pondering what to include for my project on VISIONS ’18. The biodiversity of one of the thermal vents and photo mosaics associated with that is where I’m headed with the VISIONS ’18 project.

July 22, 2018

Friday the 20th was an enlightening experience into my own personal self. I spent the night learning that I do get wonderfully seasick on a nearly unavoidable level. The captain and my bunkmate were gracious enough to help with seasick medication.
The oceans have been fairly calm since Saturday morning.

Saturday evening of the 21st, Wu-Jung deployed 3 plankton tows nets from the Roger Revelle with the help of the science students aboard and the crew to move the crane and tow line. The catch from the tow was not huge, but yielded many little creatures. Krill seemed to be the primary catch along with several jellyfish and some other creatures of the ocean.

Today the seas are still mostly calm, the weather did not hold out as far the sunshine goes. The engineers from the applied physics lab deployed the deep profiler today. That seemed to go without incident, barring the sonar beacon which had to be replaced. The rest of the operation proceeded in orderly fashion.
The food aboard is quite good, to which we owe thanks to the cook.