Leg 2 of VISIONS17 Begins

We came into Newport, Oregon on August 7 after completing our dives at the Oregon Offshore Site. After watching the Seattle weather, we appreciated the cooler overcast conditions in Newport. The R/V Revelle sat off the entrance to the channel at 0730 and docked at 0800 at the Newport  NOAA facility. The UW team, working with the Revelle crew, demobed and mobed gear until ~1300 and then took some well-deserved shore time to relax, take long walks on the beach and in town, and call friends and family. There are a couple things that hit you when you first come into Newport after being at sea – the smell of dry cut grass alongside the road, fresh breezes with the sound of rustling plants, and bugs – there are no flies out on the ocean. Oh, and then there is “dock rock” which is when you are standing in a building or sitting on a cement ledge, for example, and the entire building or ledge feel like they are moving back and forth. People look at you oddly as you stand with your legs far apart bracing for the waves ingrained in your body.

On Tuesday, the next morning, a large shore crane came in to lift the Shallow Profiler components onto trucks for transport to our logistics warehouse and then onto the UW. By early afternoon loading and unloading was complete. The Leg 1 students onboard were both excited and somewhat subdued – excited to be going home, but many were sad to be leaving the boat, the new friends that they had made, knowing that they would not be seeing the ocean depths live through the Jason “eyes” until next year or longer.

Today, Wednesday we left Newport again under the cover of mist and fog. The seas are like a pond on a windless day, which is good because our first dive site is in only 80 m of water. Here, the waters are so productive and contain so much particulate matter that the seafloor was completely obscured as Jason went in for the first dive of Leg 2 with a heavy Benthic Experiment Package latched beneath the vehicle. We had to terminate the dive because of the low visibility and are now awaiting a different cycle in the tides to see if visibility improves…stay tuned…