Flying Fish and 12 Hours Shifts

July 17, 2010
Location: Mid-Atlantic
Lat/Lon: 40*10.6007'N / 46*35.4171'W
Air Temp: 24.80*C / 76.64*F
Wind Speed: 11.6 kts
Humidity: 88.1%
Water Temp: 24.74*C / 76.53*F
Salinity: 35.25 psu
Depth: 3969 m

My-oh-my the boat has been pitching today! It's better now but walking through interior, windowless hallways is an activity that's pretty low on my wish list.

We're heading north now and the ocean depths will be shallower. Frank commented that the path of the boat (see the link at the top) looks like an outline of the bottom of a sucker-fish - a really really expensive sucker-fish!

Starting today and for the next several days we are transitioning to a 2-watch schedule. The watches will be 1am - 1pm and 1pm - 1am. I start my first shift tomorrow morning at 1 am - youch! We'll do just fine!

Unfortunately even Betty's energy couldn't get the CDH long core winch up and running. It's unclear whether or not we'll be able to long coring again - but they're working on it! We'll be intensively gravity and multi-coring for the next few days as the sampling sites are geographically close together and the water is shallower so the trips down and up for the corers will be shorter.

Jim Broda and Kathryn Rose, pictured right, will be the Watch Leaders for the two shifts.

As we were getting ready for yoga-lates on the fly deck we started spotting flying fish! They are amazing to watch! The science and tech team members told me about their cruise near Barbados where a flying fish literally flew right into someone. He caught it and threw it back! Check out this video of flying fish!

And at last - we got to make cups! We decorated styrofoam cups and sent them down with the multicorer when it was plunging to depths near 5000m. This picture, to the right, was taken by Sarah before the cups went down. The top picture on today's blog shows the "after" (Note the hard hat for scale).

The deep ocean environment is quite hostile - prohibitive - for surface life. The pressure at 5000m depth is enormous - nearly 500 times the pressure at the surface. And it is very cold. I am always reminded of this when we are processing the muds that come up. The temperature of the deep ocean where we were sampling is about 2*C / 35.6*F.

As I mentioned before with the plankton tow, this cruise is not a marine biology expedition. However, we are inevitably passing through regions of life as we send cores down. Here is a clip from the the BBC series about the oceans (scroll down 3/4 of the page). My favorite narrator, David Attenborough talks you through the details of these amazing organisms.

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