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Building Good Karma

August 25, 2013
fishing boat

The red rescue boat from the R/V Nancy Foster lending a hand to a stranded fishing boat.

Our work was interrupted Friday so that we could assist a vessel having engine difficulties.  They were near us, about 60 miles offshore, and had lost all power and electricity. They had been working on the issue for about five hours, and we were asked to see if we could provide some help. Two of our NOAA Corps members took equipment over in our small boat. They stood by as the people in the fishing boat got their engine started and felt confident enough to head into shore. We were glad to assist but also sad as we watched our limited research window tick away.

However, helping the fishing vessel must have given us some good “karma” as today has been amazing. The weather forecast had everyone worried last night. High winds and high seas were predicted, and we had two landers and a mooring to recover. We wanted to complete some CTDs, and mapping as well. We awoke to a beautiful sunrise and recovered our first lander in about 40 minutes total. We steamed to the next lander and recovered it just a quickly. It was amazing to have both landers on deck before lunch.

The next challenge was finding and retrieving a mooring we had deployed last year. A mooring is much like a lander in that it stays submerged and records data for an extended period of time. The main difference is that the mooring has a long string of  floats coming up from the base, and monitoring equipment can be placed along the line, thus getting measurements higher up in the water column rather than just at the base. This mooring has a Honju sediment trap at the base, and ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) for measuring current, and a Microcat (a type of CTD).


Jonathan and Furu “pinging” the mooring.

And like the landers, a ping is sent down to release the weight and allow it to surface.

mooring floating

The mooring at the surface.

The mooring came up quickly. As the crew and science team got it up on deck, we were treated to an awesome display of blows and fins from a pod of Minke Whales. We continued to see the whales throughout the day, as we ran a series of CTDs. About mid-afternoon Furu spotted a Whale Shark off the bow. It stayed around for several  minutes, allowing nearly everyone a good look. The day ended with sunset behind us as we continued to do CTDs.

Whatever the reason, we are all excited with the work we accomplished, and looking forward to another jam-packed day tomorrow.


A pod of Minke Whales spotted near the ship during the recovery of the lander.

Kelly and Sarah filtering water

Kelly and Sarah filtering water from the Niskin bottles on the CTD.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Beatriz Mottesi permalink
    August 25, 2013 1:40 pm

    Hola Gaby, esperamos todo siga bien hacemos saber.Dios los siga acompañando .besos y más besos

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Alice Houck permalink
    August 25, 2013 7:25 pm

    What an exciting day for all of you!!! I think it would be difficult to determine what the best part of the day was: retrieving all the equipment or seeing such a variety of wildlife. What an experience!

  3. Alice Houck permalink
    August 26, 2013 8:00 pm

    Liz, I shared this blog with Dacia’s students today and asked if they had any questions. The first group wanted to know what CTD’s are? What kind of food does everyone eat on the ship? Does Ms. Harris have laundry facilities? What exactly is Dacia doing as a teacher on the ship? Does Dacia take part in the navigation of the ship? I will share any information that you can give me with her students. Thanks for providing the information.

    • lizbaird permalink
      August 27, 2013 8:13 am

      From Dacia –
      What are CTDs? A CTD is a piece of equipment that measures specific scientific information at multiple depths. The CTD on board has 12 tubes to collect water which are remotely triggered to close at specific depths to gather water samples (i.e. bottom, 600 meters, 100 meters, surface, etc…) which are then filtered so that the particulate matter can be reviewed later. In addition, the CTD has a duel measuring system, just in case one goes wonky, that measures conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, chloroflorometer, and an altimeter. Through the conductivity readings we are able to measure salinity and adding salinity and temperature we are able to calculate the density of the water. These reading are added to an ongoing data base which helps the scientists identify the external conditions near their equipment and elsewhere along these canyons.

      We eat awesome food! The two guys in the mess hall kitchen provide a multitude of options for us along with delicious fresh fruit, veggies, etc. The first night I was here, Jim, one of the crew’s able-bodied seaman, showed me around the mess hall to tell me about the food options after meal times. He showed me where the cold cuts were, where the juices were stored, and where the ice cream was. Other than that our meals are at a specific time, breakfast 7-8, lunch 11-12, and dinner 4:30-5:30. While an hour sounds spectacular, there are twice as many people on board than there are seats, so as soon as you are done you vacate your seat so someone else has a chance to sit down and eat.

      Funny thing about the laundry, I have a pillowcase full presently waiting for one of the two washing machines to open so that I can do a load of laundry before driving home tomorrow. You wouldn’t want to spend too much time in the laundry room, as it is not climate controlled-meaning it is HOT and HUMID. As soon as I get everything done I can clue you all in more.

      Dacia has been helping write blog posts, removing specimens from the landers, and finding out that the anti-nausa patch really made life much harder than necessary. It was a science experiment at sea. She has also been photographing the events as well as interviewing the crew over the past 7 days.

      Dacia, that would be me, does not help with the navigation other than to inquire as to which direction we are going. She was allowed on the bridge and given a quick rundown as to how all of the equipment works but she very much lacks the necessary knowledge to take the new information and put it to work.

  4. Jennifer Wise permalink
    August 27, 2013 4:57 pm

    All of us landlubbers hardly ever think about what happens in the ocean, just assuming the surface tells it all – unless there are storms. You folks are sure seeing the active life of the oceans and so much more info about sea life than I ever imagined. Keep posting.

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