Aaaaand we’re back
After a few minor technical difficulties the Deepwater Canyons Blog is back online. Here’s what happened yesterday…
We started off bright and early for the second leg of the Deepwater Canyons cruise today. Our trip began on the Cape Henry Launch at ~6am in Norfolk, VA. We were taking a smaller transport to meet NOAA Ship Ronald H Brown, which was sitting at predetermined coordinates in the Atlantic. It was a grey, almost monochrome morning when we set sail, and the further we traveled the denser the fog became. Despite the dreariness, spirits were high as a new crew of researchers began what we anticipate to be a fruitful trip of collection and discovery. Along the transport we were already spotting dolphins in the near distance, hopefully a good sign of what’s to come.
We reached the ship after about a 45-minute ride in the transport boat. They picked the perfect location, for as we neared the ship the sun began peak out from behind the clouds. To board, we pulled along the right (starboard, in nautical parlance) side of the ship. Our equipment, supplies, and personal gear were first to go on. We followed after, one at a time, up a rope ladder to arrive safely aboard what will be our home for the next nine days.
A little tired, but extremely excited, we have settled down to prepare to begin our missions. While the first leg focused on analyzing biology in and around the Deepwater Canyons, this leg will revolve around archaeological research. There are countless shipwrecks along the east coast of the United States that could be of significant historical importance. Locating them, identifying them, and conducting analyses on them, however, is no easy feat. First, to locate a ship, we rely on previously recorded sonar scans and recorder data to pinpoint possible locations. However, even after identifying the location of a shipwreck we do not necessarily know if it is the exact ship we are looking for until further research is completed. Finally, to study the ship we use the video, still-image, and mechanical capabilities of the ROV Jason to capture footage and collect samples. So, after much research and careful planning we will begin our search for several early twentieth century shipwrecks.
Do not fret though, biophiles; shipwrecks also form a superb marine habitat in addition to being historically significant, and we expect to see an abundance of life that inhabits the areas in and around the wreck. There will be even more biological sampling performed at night in locations not related to the wrecks themselves as well as bottom mapping and depth profiling using a CTD sensor.