Michelle Lees’ Blog

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Yesterday was a long and bumpy transit day, leaving some of us not feeling so great, myself included. Yesterday I stayed in bed until about 2 pm, when I started feeling a little better. I heading up to the main lab and found that we just did a CTD cast at a 2600m site. They took the Styrofoam cups we decorated down as well. I helped with taking water samples from the CTD as well. We first took oxygen samples, then DIC, nutrients, and lastly chlorophyll. My Sunday at sea ended pretty well with a really nice dinner and then heading to bed a little early for an early rise.

I never really enjoyed Monday mornings but today wasn’t so bad. I woke up early for my 4am watch. When entering the control van, Jason had just got in the water for the second dive at Ashes. The purpose of the dive was to put in the new junction box and bring up the old one. The dive lasted my whole shift, with Jason taking down the new junction box, setting it in a stable area and then prepping the old junction box to be moved aside making way for the new one to replace it.

In the afternoon, I helped Theresa make labels and put labels on vials in prep for storing the samples from the 2016 Mosquito that was retrieved from Southern Hydrate Ridge. We made and labelled about a thousand vials. During our last dive at Ashes, it started to rain today. It’s nice to see some rain, though it does make it difficult for people who preps the instruments outside.

The ships been a bit rocky these past 2 days, hopefully it gets a little better. I can’t believe it’s almost a week that I’ve been on the cruise. Time flies by really fast. I don’t want it to end!

August 12, 2017

As the days go by on the ship, I’m started to lose my track of time and day, especially since I’m enjoying my time on the Revelle.

At about 10:30pm we went sea pickle netting off the side of ship. During the night, you could see the clear sea pickles floating at the surface of the water. We were able to net 3 sea pickles, all different sizes. When looking at the sea pickle, I expected them to be squishy like jelly, but it turns out that they are actually hard to the touch. I’ve never seen (or heard) of these organisms prior to this cruise so it was really intriguing getting a chance to look and touch them.

At about 11:30pm we began the last dive at Southern Hydrate Ridge. The last dive consists of switching out the OSMOAI, FLOWBN_C (Cat), and FLOWBN_M (Mosquito). This is one of the dive I’ve been looking forward to because I helped with putting the Mosquito together the previous day and wanted to see it finally get deployed. During the first few hours of the dive, there was an intense atmosphere inside the Control Van, trying to find the right location for the Mosquito and hoping that the needles won’t bend during release. The first time the mosquito deployed, the needles bent and the deployment was unsuccessful. After the failed first mosquito, we spent more time circling around to find a flat, bacteria mat to deploy the second one. After spending some time looking for a spot, we decided a spot to deploy the second one. Luckily, the release was smooth and the needles went in. Besides the Mosquito, during the dive, we also deployed the OSMOAI and the FLOWBN_C. Once all three were deployed, we retrieved the old Mosquito and FLOWBN_C. We secured the old ones back in the undervator, ready to come back onto deck. Following that, we took 2 core sample at the site of the old Mosquito. In our second core, there was hydrate present since it started to bubble as we moved the core onto Jason and up on deck. We also took niskin water samples at the site of the old Mosquito. Jason picked up the old OSMOI and with it in hand it latched to the undervator and made its way back up to the surface, concluding the 6 hour dive.

Once everything made it back onto deck, Channel and I helped Theresa with collecting both the Mosquitos (FLOWBN_M2016 and the one that failed). We sprayed down them, carried them back to the analytical lab, and started to take it apart. We took apart the coils from the old Mosquito, labelled and packed them. Following that we cleaned up the lab. By the time that was done, it was already 8:30am.

Following that I went to bed since I haven’t slept for almost 24 hours. I slept until about 1:30pm. At 2pm, we had a meeting where we Deb presented a talk about Axial Seamount. It was really interesting learning about Axial Seamount. It seems like a very fascinating location. I’m excited to see it tomorrow when we get to the ASHES hydrothermal vent field.

I spent the remainder of the day starting my project by reading about the data from the ADCP and starting to look at one of the ADCP datasets. I also helped with cleaning the retrieved OSMOAI, salt chambers.

Since we are currently in transit to Axial from Slope Base (19 hours), I won’t have a watch at 4am and will get to sleep in a little bit and have some time to work more on my project.

August 10, 2017

My day started bright and early. I had my first watch in the Jason control van this morning at 4 am. I was in charge of logging the dives, which included logging when Jason’s actions and interesting things that appears on the cameras. Walking into the van, we were towards the end of a 6-hour dive where Jason switched out the old BEP (Benthic Experiment Package) with a new BEP. By the time I went on my watch, Jason had already switched out the old BEP. They were putting the hydrophone onto the old BEP in preparation to bring it back up to the surface.

For about the first hour of my watch, we finished up the dive by bringing the old BEP onto the deck. Immediately afterwards we started the next dive. The next dive was predicted to be a 10-hour dive switching cables at the seafloor with a depth of about 580 m. The new cables were lowered down to the bottom in a basket. The first that was completed was unplugging the old cable connectors from the 2 sites, with one being the deep profiler. Then the task was to bring the new cable and plug then in place of the old ones. By the end of my watch, Jason was just beginning to touch and position the new cables from the basket.

My watch ended at 8 am. I got breakfast afterwards, then took a power nap. After the nap, I headed over to the analytical lab to help Theresa build the Mosquito. We attached the tubing to the needles and made sure water was flowing through the tubes without any air bubbles. We were able to finish attaching all the coiled tubes to both the Mosquito structures before heading to dinner. While we did encounter some difficulties during the process, for the most part everything went smoothly. I found it interesting to actually put the instrument together. It allowed me to clearly understand how the instrument worked to collect water. I’m really excited to see the Mosquito deploy at Southern Hydrate Ridge later!

Coming up we’ll be heading to methane sites! I’m really excited to be able to see these sites, especially since I’m really interested in studying about methane plumes! I can’t wait to get the chance to see these methane sites with Jason.

August 9, 2017:

We set sail this morning at about 9 am leaving the Newport dock and steaming towards our first location to deploy Jason. We started the morning with an orientation at 8:15 am, going over the emergency, safety, and general housekeeping procedures of the Revelle. Following the orientation, I decided to watch the vessel head towards the open ocean. Today was a very foggy day, so we couldn’t see too much, but we could spot some sea lions on our way out of the dock. At 10:15 am we had an abandon the ship emergency drill. For the drill, we needed to head to our bunks to grab the emergency gears and head to the deck. On the deck, we went over the procedures that would have taken place if it were an actual emergency like how to deploy the rafts. Following the drill, I got a short orientation on the tasks that were to be completed during a watch in the Jason van. I got a sense of how and what to log and the general task with the cameras. Following the orientation was lunch time.

After lunch, I helped Theresa start assembling the instrument that will be deployed at the Southern Hydrate Ridge, the Mosquito, along with other people. We put the needles on the frame and recorded the geometry of the needles by measuring various parameters of the needles and their orientation.

A little past noon, Jason was deployed at the designated location that had a depth of 80 m. Due to poor visibility, the dive was aborted. We ended up heading back to the dock to retrieve some cables with the Revelles' small workboat. Following the retrieval, we went back to the area to give the Jason deployment another try. Sadly, the dive was again aborted because of low visibility at the bottom. While the dives weren’t successful, it was nice to observe how the Jason van operates during the dives as well as watch Jason enter and exit the water.

My watch isn’t until tomorrow morning at 4 am until 8 am. Despite it being really early in the morning, I am still really excited to go to my first watch tomorrow! I hope to get to see a lot of interesting and new things.