Katie Gonzalez’s Blogs Leg 3

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July 19, 2018


Yesterday was AMAZING! The morning started with our arrival in Newport. It was very foggy and gave an eerie feeling as we pulled closer to the jetty, but once we saw land it was beautiful. The sun rose just behind the bridge and gave an orangish/pinkish glow to the clouds over the distant mountains. As we pulled in I noticed the change in the smell of the air that I’ve heard many people speak of before. It gave me a nostalgic feeling of when I first moved to Clallam Bay, Washington.
After arriving back to port, all the students went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It was so much fun! Leland had volunteered there for five years, so he was able to give us the grand tour and share information that we normally would have had to wait for a keeper talk to hear. He knew the names of all the sea otters, sea lions and seals, and a lot about the different fish in each exhibit. We waited for feeding time for the otters and got to see how clumsily they walked on land. It was very cute nonetheless.
The “Passages” exhibit at the aquarium was my favorite. Being able to walk through a huge tank was astounding. There were sharks and rays swimming over, under, and beside me as I watched in the tunnel. I loved that the aquarium primarily housed native marine life. It really shows how much diverse life there is around the pacific northwest that we usually don’t get to see in person. To say that I had a great time would be an understatement.
After the aquarium trip I enjoyed playing in a kickball tournament with the captain and students from our ship, the Revelle, against two NOAA ships. We won our first match against Rueben Lasker’s team, and had a close game with the Rainier’s team. In the end Rainier won, but it was still very fun. This was the first game of kickball I had ever played, and I was worried that my inexperience would cause us to come in last place. Despite having the ball caught every time I kicked it, we came in second!
Today I had to say goodbye to all my new friends. While I’ll see Leland, Ashley, Matthew, and Spencer during Fall quarter, I likely won’t see Emilio or Elizabeth unless I visit the east coast. Once again, I followed the tradition of playing a final card game with the last leg’s students and introducing myself to the new students with one. I look forward to learning and seeing more during this next leg, alongside the new students, as well as learning more about them.

July 17, 2018


Yesterday and today have been a blur. It started with taking photos on deck of the last anchor being lowered to the seafloor and the shallow profiler mooring being attached to it. I was able to show some of the students how to do the ROV and video logging for their shifts. There were just enough dives for all the students to have a shift, and Leland relieved me halfway through my shift since he wanted more time in the control van. I agree with his sentiment about wanting to be in the control van as much as possible. With the fewest dives this leg, I would be sad if I only had one shift during my time on the cruise.
Originally there were only going to be three dives this leg, but after having difficulties getting the SPA to lock to the mooring, a fourth was necessary. The issue started during the 2000 – 2400 shift and wasn’t resolved until the 0400 – 0800 shift. After 3 hours of JASON attempting to lock the SPA in place, Skip Denny just decided that having it halfway in would be sufficient. Eve and I had volunteered to do that shift earlier in the day and were told later that the dive would be over by then, only to find out on our way to bed that another dive was happening and we would be needed for the shift!
Leland was my true inspiration to keep going since he planned to stay up about 36 hours. He actually managed to stay up a whole 48 and a half hours! We watched the sunrise together and it was very “underwhelming” as he put it, because of how cloudy it was. I was surprised by how well I did at staying up without the influence of caffeine. I’ve learned my lesson about ice cream-coffee since the 4th of July. (See previous blog for details.) After the early morning shift I was able to sleep until 1400 and then it was time for another CTD cast and sample collecting when I got up.
On a side note, yesterday after dinner I got to look at things under my microscope again. Unfortunately, there was nothing to be seen in all the slides I looked at. But after a CTD cast I was able to get some water from the chlorophyll samples we took from 20 m at the endurance offshore site. I’m looking forward to seeing something now!
We will be back to port tomorrow morning bright and early, very likely before I get up, and so will end leg 3. Even though this leg has been the shortest, I feel as though I’ve gotten as close to this leg’s students as I did to Bing over the past two legs. I’m excited to be back in port tomorrow, we’re planning to go to the aquarium as a sendoff for the students from this cruise. It should be the best sendoff yet!

July 15, 2018

Photographing the operations on the back deck can sometimes make me nervous. There is so much heavy equipment being used, and so little space for everyone to walk around in. The boys of our student group, Matt, Leland, Spencer, and Emilio, all got to help lift some of the heavy things like the EOM cage and football floats. I really wanted to help but I felt like I’d just be in the way since all the other students were on the deck. I stayed in the background of the scene and took lots of pictures, trying not to get in the way.

Finding good angles to get pictures can be a task within itself. I’ve found some spots on the deck where I can contort my body to get the best photo from an area that I’m safe in. Squeezing past winches, crates, and stepping over cables turns the deck into an obstacle course. I teasingly call my movements around deck the “equipment safety shuffle” as I stay out of harm’s way.
This leg so far has given many opportunities to help hands on with the equipment, while before the most interaction students would get with instruments would be when collecting CTD samples, now we are right in the midst of the action. I look forward to being able to help. I know getting this all documented is of equal importance, so I don’t feel bad for recording the work. I would just like an opportunity to get involved hands on in this monumental operation.
After lunch I worked a bit on the videos Bing and I started last leg. I even had a dream last night about how I should add transitions and connect the videos. My goal is to make a decent video, this will be a challenge for me since I haven’t made an informative video on anything before. I’m sure I can get help from Bing when I’m back on land.
After dinner I was able to take a peek through my microscope. I saw a single diatom from the three slides I looked at. Not seeing much makes me wonder if there is much to be seen at the depth I’m collecting my samples from. Hopefully I’ll see more tomorrow when I use the microscope again.

July 14, 2018

Leaving again has its pros and cons for me. The pros being that I’m here on another leg with new students to get to know, and more opportunities to learn things. The cons being that I forgot to go to a store to pick some things up, and the fact that this leg is the shortest leg. I understand why this leg is so short, because of the intense goal for this leg: to redeploy the entire shallow profiler mooring. This makes everything feel like it’s going so fast and that I need more hours in the day. I won’t resort back to coffee though.


Since heading back to sea I’ve gotten to look at everything on the back deck and try to get a grasp on just how monumental this operation is. It’s amazing to see so many people working together and putting all their knowledge together to accomplish this feat. I’m excited to interview many people and learn for myself the intricacies of what is happening. Many of these interviews will have to be scheduled to be done on land since there is a time constraint on this leg. Eve and I’s video on the shallow profiler mooring will be as long as we can possibly make it. There is no such thing as too many photos, videos, or interviews. I almost feel overwhelmed with the project since our target audience for the video will be engineers and science members. The goal is to have a video comprehensive enough to use as reference for possible future reference, or reflection of this operation. I may recruit the help of the other students from this leg to help compiling the video.


After dinner I set up the microscope with the help of Katie B. I should be able to start using it today, I can’t wait to see the plankton! If I can get good photos I may even arrange them into a collage to show a more artsy side of my science project. After setting up the microscope it was time for another CTD cast. This time Julie showed me how to log the samples and poison the DIC samples. It felt so cool to experience the other side of taking CTD samples. I love being able to see the many different sides of everything we do on the ship, it really widens my perspective and I’m able to learn so much!