“Wow! How cool is this!” exclaimed Dacia on the port bow after watching the bright yellow marker buoy pop up, followed by a roaring cheer as the flag on the lander broke the surface. After getting up at 5:30 am, she admits she had been thinking that she had no idea what to look for, and how was she supposed to spot the lander? She started looking for something out of the ordinary, something that was not supposed to be there. When she saw the yellow floats she knew she was looking at the right thing.
Retrieving the lander was an example of perfectly orchestrated teamwork; the ship steamed alongside the lander and its buoy. One of the techs threw a grappling hook towards the line between the buoy and lander. After snagging the line, it was pulled on board. The buoy was lifted on deck, the line was run through the winch, and then the lander was brought on board. It took the coordinated efforts of the ship’s crew and science team for this successful recovery.
When asked about the lander, Dacia said “It was not what I thought it was going to be. I thought there was going to be more equipment on it based on the size of the cage frame. There was a big huge anemone on one of the legs, which made me wonder what might be living in the little yellow flotation devices around the top. I was very interested to know what kind of data it might have stored on it.”
The large anemone released itself from the leg after it was out of the water for a few minutes. It was more than 100mm across. The size of the anemone was amazing considering it had only been growing for a year. Dacia removed the small anemones and hydroids that were attached to the lander. The samples were stored in 70% ethanol so that they could be transported back to the mainland.
There is more information to be gathered from the lander at a later time. For example, Mike and Gabriela worked on removing the settling plates (look for a blog post about that!) and Furu will determine when to start downloading data that was stored in the mechanisms. We started our search for the second lander instead of focusing on data from the first. We are still trying to find the second lander and are hoping that the weather will continue to cooperate!
Welcome to sea! This is Dacia Harris, the teacher at sea, for this last leg of the project. In addition, this is my first extended stay at sea so I wanted to share a little about what I have experienced at sea.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a 6’2” female. I am very grateful to not have to duck everywhere to get places. The only places that I have to duck so far are the watertight doors and my bunk. The watertight doors have been interesting to try and maneuver my way through, being that they have small openings and are very heavy (we were warned that if we weren’t careful they could take off our arm) and the ship is always rocking back and forth.
The berth is actually much roomier than I had anticipated. We each have a locker for our gear as well as drawers and cupboards so that our belongings are secured, on the off chance that we run into high seas. The bunk is long enough for me to lie down flat (side sleeping is questionable as we rock, and you could easily end up on the floor). You can see in the image, there are blackout curtains to help you sleep better.
Another interesting concept is the head (bathroom). There are two toilets (one significantly smaller than the other — think airplane bathroom) and three showers. Thankfully the showers are pretty tiny because when the boat rocks, you have something to “brace yourself.” We are all sharing the head (about 13 people) – good thing we are all getting along pretty well.
The best surprise is the mess (kitchen/dining). There are two wonderful guys who are providing delicious nutritious food for a crew of more than 30. And while there is no soda (I know!) we do have juice, tea and water. Remember hydration is KEY while at sea to prevent sea-sickness. Well that, and a patch, wristbands, and Dramamine (remember this is my first long-term at sea). I will fill you all in more on what we are doing out here a little later.
The final leg of the Deepwater Canyons mission has departed. The science crew boarded last night, and the R/V Nancy Foster shoved off this morning. Once we got out into open water we completed our safety drills, and are now steaming north towards our target site.
We arrived in Charleston this past Monday around 8:30 AM, finishing the second, and final, leg of this Deepwater Canyons cruise. It was a successful venture and an exciting adventure. I have finally regained my ‘land legs’. Someone actually commented that people always talk about seasickness, but not what happens when you get off the ship: dock rock. This is a term for the sensation of still being at sea after getting on dry land; feeling the pitch and roll of the ship in the waves even though you are on stable ground. Many people tend to feel this when stationary or when they have their eyes closed. I was warned to be aware when washing shampoo out of my hair for the first time back on dry land. I didn’t fall in the shower, but for about two days, if I sat or stood still, I could feel the world rocking around me. It wasn’t an uneasy feeling necessarily, but noticeable nonetheless. Some people might actually have this sensation after any prolonged period in a moving vehicle (car, train, plane, etc.). Stand still and close your eyes after your next plane flight and see what happens.
I digress, here are the numbers:
15 Science team members
6 ROV dives
3 Shipwrecks photographed and videoed in High Definition
12.5 TB of video and still picture data (total for Leg 1 and Leg 2)
10 ROV crew (still)
200+ isotope samples
20 GB of multibeam sonar data
30 ship’s crew (still)
18,000 gallons of fuel burned
4+ boxes of Frosted Mini-Wheats consumed
0 times seasick (personal best)
9 Mono cores
25,000 gallons of freshwater made and used
2,963 photos documenting the cruise
700 GB of video documenting the cruise
20 degree difference in air temperature between the lab and the ROV control van (still)
1 ‘gold whale’ collected and maintained
2 bags of un-shrunken wig heads and Styrofoam cups (we didn’t get a chance to shrink our Styrofoam materials)
We have been diving on a series of ships sunk by U.S. Army General Billy Mitchell in the early 1920’s to demonstrate the power of military aircraft. Here is a link to a background on the “Billy Mitchell Fleet” and the archaeological research being conducted on the Deepwater Canyons cruises by Chief Archaeological Scientist of the cruise and Professor of History and Underwater Archaeology at the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Rod Mather:
Also, for your viewing pleasure, here are two videos showing footage of some of the bombing tests: