Andrew Paley Blog Leg 1

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The Shallow Profiler Mooring platform, hosting the instrumented Platform Interface Assembly (left) and winched science pod (right) – both have been in the water since last year. Credit: UW/NSF-OOI/WHOI; V21.
August 3: Arrived at Axial Base

Once we arrived at Axial Base yesterday, events rapidly spun into high gear. With all the prep work going on to get Jason and the shallow profiler platforms ready to go for operations, the deck and lab are much fuller now than they were in transit.

Watch began with a CTD cast to 200 meters to collect water samples for oxygen, chlorophyll, and salinity measurements. Finally learning to use something like a CTD, after only reading about them during online school, was a refreshing experience.

Dives began with J2-1138 in which Jason went down to the shallow profiler mooring at about 200 meters and began to prepare the PIA and science pod for recovery.

Sitting in the van was particularly fun as there was many colonial salps in massive chains going down towards the mooring. While on watch I also got to learn how to manage all the video streams and still captures that happen on an ROV dive, as well as how to log the various events such as biology, ROV actions, and geological features seen during the dive.

I also had found some time to work on my computer detection program for various arthropods around Axial Seamount and other vent communities, but given that it hasn’t been much time there really isn’t anything to talk about as of yet with respect to that.

The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason is mobilized onboard the R/V Thompson at the start of the Operations and Maintenance 37-day expedition. Credit: D. Kelley, University of Washington; V21.

August 1, 2021 – 48 30.614’N 124 57.229’W

Today was certainly more relaxed compared to the first two days aboard R/V Thompson. Compared to the tall ships I’ve worked on in the past, mobilization was an entirely different type of controlled chaos than I’m used to. With tall ships everything is moved about using ropes and blocks.  On the Thompson, however, everything was ‘flown’ on with cranes and moved with pallet jacks making the entire process feel much more industrial and organized. All wasn’t completely new, however. I’ve met a few folks from Thompson’s crew that also spent some time working on tall ships, namely S/V Lady Washington and Picton Castle, so in the down time, as we steam towards Axial Base, it was fun to talk with them about their experiences and how nice it is to work on a ship like Thompson. Other than that, not too much has been going on. I’m still working towards settling into my watch schedule and am especially excited to hear that we’re ahead of schedule (by approximately 9 hours), and that we’ll get to start operations by tomorrow at 1800. The first operation is a CTD cast to approximately 220 m. I’m eager for the chance to finally learn how to prepare and use that instrument given that I’ve only ever seen it in PowerPoints and such.

Following the CTD cast, Jason will dive to recover an instrumented science platform on the Shallow Profiler Mooring starting at ~1900 and time will only fly faster from there.

All in all, I’m super excited to see what the next month brings and to get to learn all about the cabled array and ROV operations.