Sadie Armstrong Blog Leg 2

A mini face-off between the crab at the SHBPW1 cable and Jasons’ port manipulator. The crab was not too willing to give up their nice backscratcher! Credit: S. Armstrong, University of Washington, V21.

August 13: Early Mornings

I never thought I would say this, but I’m starting to really enjoy getting up at 3am. I am usually a late riser, but something about the late nights and early mornings on the R/V Thompson is so peaceful and pleasant. Plus, it’s fun to do something so drastically different from my usual routine. I can’t say I’ll continue waking up at 3am once I’m back on land, but as of now, my morning routines are something I look forward to.

When I woke up for my shift this morning, we were in transit to the Oregon Shelf Area. Once we arrived, the Jason crew started their dive to deploy a new BEP and I worked as a Sea Logger, recording each part of the dive as well as any interesting biology/geology we saw.

A beautiful sunset behind the R/V Thompson on the night we arrived. Credit: S. Armstrong, University of Washington; V21.

Lucky for everyone in the van, this dive had some very interesting creates for us to watch- we saw a crab scratching her back on the end of the SHBPW1 cable and two fish mating next to the BEP. As we moved the cable on the seafloor, Jason also went past the Sheep, which is a junction box covered entirely with white anemones. I’m not entirely sure, but I think that the Sheep is going to be brought on deck to be cleaned later today. If so, I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and get to work directly with one of the instruments.


August 12: Expect the Unexpected

My view from the back of the Jason van mid-dive at Slope Base. Best seat in the house 🙂 Credit: S. Armstrong, University of Washington; V21.

One of the most important things that I have learned, even in my first few days out at sea, is to always expect the unexpected. After a morning of minimal work due to continued seasickness, I finally felt well enough to attend my first shift in the Jason van. I got to work as a video logger, taking images and videos during the turning of a low power junction box and a survey of Slope Base.

Getting to assist with a Jason dive is one of the coolest things I have ever gotten to be a part of – I feel so lucky to be able to witness such incredible biological processes and engineering feats first-hand. 

I woke up around 3 am for my second shift in the Jason van, but weather issues prevented Jason from being in the water at all. Instead of working in the van, I spent my morning getting to know some of the other people on board by playing games, learning to tie knots, and just sharing stories while we watched groups of dolphins swim by.

Not only are the people I get to work with on the R/V Thompson so intelligent and interesting, but they are also some of the kindest people I have ever met. Getting to work alongside them is such a gift, and I can’t wait to get to know them even more.

An clings to a BEP at the Oregon Offshore site (600 m) as seen from the Jason control van. Credit: N. Zachod, University of Washington, V21.

Thursday afternoon, I video-logged a quick Jason recovery from Southern Hydrate Ridge, and after a relatively short transit did more video-logging for a dive at Oregon Offshore Site. This dive involved installing a Benthic Experiment Platform (BEP), an instrument that measures many oceanic properties such as pH and salinity among others, so the dive itself wasn’t super long. We are transiting to Oregon Shelf Site right now, and I’m looking forward to what we’ll get to see there.


August 9-10: Starting our Trek on Leg 2

The last couple of days have been eventful to say the least! We started our trek to Newport from Seattle bright and early at 7am on Monday, and after a long journey we got to board the ship around 3pm. We were given a tour of the R/V Thompson, and after a long travel day I was pretty wiped out so I went to bed.

Tuesday involved attending many important meetings, such as a safety meeting and a meeting with the science party, as well as drawing on a styrofoam cup that will be sent down to the bottom of the ocean with Jason and shrunk due to the massive pressure. Departure was at 14:45, and it was a beautiful experience passing under the bridge and out to the open ocean.

Han and I looking very stylish in our immersion suits during the safety meeting. Credit: M. Elend, University of Washington; V21.

Unfortunately I started feeling pretty seasick soon after we left, so my second day was cut a bit short. I’m hoping that as time passes, I’ll start to get my sea legs and be able to participate in all of the exciting experiences that this trip has to offer!