Daniel Tran’s Blog

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Aug 25, 2017

As there was no JASON dive this morning, I was able to sleep in during my scheduled shift from 04:00 to 08:00. My group and I wrapped up our final set of interviews today for our minor project. Today consisted of interviewing Orest Kawka, one of the chief scientists onboard the ship, and Victor, who oversees IT aboard the boat, from data collection to internet connectivity. They both gave interesting things about how they ended up being onboard and their paths.

Aug 24, 2017

This morning’s JASON dive involved deploying the mooring for one of the deep profilers. As my watch was towards the end of the deployment, I mainly witnessed the ball attached to the top of the unit being set up and JASON coming up. In addition, additional checks were made to ensure everything was working properly on the seafloor before ending the dive. Later on in the day, I hung out with a few people from the ship and played a round of Cards Against Humanity, which was an interesting experience.

After our daily meeting, my group and I for our minor project conducted two interviews with two people in the engine room about their roles. As part of a fellow student’s research project, a few of us students helped prepare a net that would be used to collect zooplankton samples. This involved setting up three nets with very small mesh sizes that facilitated sample collection. After setting it up and using the equipment, what came out of it was an amazing array of tiny animals, ranging from anthropoids to small krill. It was pretty cool when some of us came back and sifted through the animals and being able to take a look at what we found. These samples will be used to aid in the study of acoustic observation of oceanic animals, as these are often hard to identify without prior knowledge of what they are. Needless to say, I will be doing laundry tonight.

Aug 23, 2017

Today was relatively uneventful, as we are on transit to our next site which is expected to take 20+ hours. This gave us a lot of down time for us to recharge and gather our thoughts until our arrival. Our group did help with deploying some Tucker Trawl nets in order to gather samples of zooplankton out in the sea. With carabiners in hand, we helped to attach them in holes on the net to get it ready to be hooked on an array.

In terms of our minor project for the cruise, my group and I conducted several interviews with some of the engineers, sailors and support staff onboard the ship. These will be used in an outreach video aimed at secondary school students to help them get of an idea of jobs available at sea. Through these, we got to know the various backgrounds of many of the staff and how they ended up working on this project. It was cool getting to know how people started off and ended up on board working on OOI and this research cruise.

Aug 22, 2017

This morning was exciting, as I had my first JASON watch at 04:00. For today’s dive, I witnessed the deployment of some instruments over some hydrothermal vents, namely Diva, Escargot and Tiny Towers. It was cool to watch the JASON crew carefully maneuver the ROV to place all the probes into the right spot, as it looked quite difficult given the positioning of the vents. As part of my watch, I helped write log captions for what was occurring during the dive. This includes jotting down temperature values and events occurring on screen, like moving a probe. It was an interesting look at the application of ROVs in this field.
After my watch ended at 08:00, I decided to relax and get some rest and after lunch, got to have a tour of the engine room. This is how the boat stays afloat and provides power and water to everyone. Everything from engines, motors, filters and electrical control panels were down there managing how the boat operates, navigates and provides basic necessities like water. Being able to see the underworking of the boat gave me an appreciation of how much work it takes to make sure one of these vessels manage to keep things operational out in seas such as this.
As part of Mitchell Eland’s research, I helped in taking samples from various instruments that would be used in that research. This involved removing filters with various organisms on it and running it through deionised water a couple of times. In addition, there were additional filters from a different research instrument where the main goal was to look at the RNA of chlorophyll. This involved using a solution known as RNAlater to get it into a usable form from the filter.
Today was quite interesting as there was a lot to do and learn about how research was conducted. In addition, learning about the underbelly of a ship gave me an appreciation of the work and machinery that makes it possible to be on such a vessel right now.

Aug 21 2017

First day out at sea was a bit rough to say the least. The sea was rougher than expected and unfortunately for me, the Dramamine had yet to kick in. What I have found to be useful for this cruise to keep myself well-rested, hydrated and fed. That way, I can fend off the rocking of the waves and not constantly be under the weather. In addition, going outside and getting fresh air has really helped get me used to the new environment of the boat. The following day though was better after getting used to the rocking motion of the boat. In addition, with some dives planned, the boat rocking reduced significantly to the point that rocking was tolerable.

The 21st happened to be the day of the solar eclipse. As the totality approached, it started to get darker and darker, which gave me an eerie feeling about everything. But after those one to two minutes of darkness, the moon moved out of the way and the sun shone again. Even though at that point the moon was still mostly over the sun, that tiny sliver of sun still exposed was bright enough to illuminate everything around us. It was just mesmerizing being able to witness such an event, especially out at sea.

In terms of activity for the day, we had an abandon ship drill in the case we need to evacuate the ship. In addition, I helped to label some containers and vials that will be used for samples being collected during this cruise. Since this was our first full day at sea, we were all settling in for the ride and getting accustomed to the environment. My watch shift for this cruise is 04:00 to 08:00 and the first one should be interesting as there will be a dive to watch and see.