Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010


It is day 10 out to sea and things are beginning to pick up! It seems like everyone has settled into a nice routine, and people are getting excited about all the data we have collected and the anticipation of dredging. We have daily science meetings at 15:00 where we discuss the current data and look at the maps that were made the day before. Today we went over dredging, the techniques we will be using, what makes a good dredging site, and what the main goals of the trip are. We all get to design our very own dredge from start to finish! We even get to name them. There is a lot that goes into designing a dredge site.
Pictures of the A-frame we will be using to dredge

First we must select an area to focus on based on what geologic features are present and how these relate to our proposal. Once a well-defined focus area is established, including why we want to dredge in an area and exactly where we will dredge, a detailed map must be made using GMT. GMT is an intricate mapping program that uses various codes to produce detailed bathymetric maps of a designated area. The maps will cover anywhere from to 18 to 74 km2 of sea floor and will be printed on a large poster size piece of paper. We must also each give a 5 minute presentation trying to explain our dredging site to the rest of the group. These presentations must include a general description of the target area, longitude and latitude, water depth at the beginning and end of the dredge line, how it relates to the overall goal, estimated time of how long it will take from start to finish, and which direction the boat should point and exactly where to start. Most dredges take about 4 hours with another 2 hours to process the rocks and clean up for the next dredge. We will present our ideas on Friday so we have a lot to do!

Today each shift had to make a GMT map of a certain seamount in order to give us practice using the program.
Below is a picture of Mike Carbone’s map that he made for the 4-8 shift. We will each make a map like this when planning our dredging site. Along with looking at the maps more closely and comparing the bathymetry to the side-scan data, the watches have been keeping busy with some other tasks. One such task is scaring the sea birds off the ship when they land so they will not poop all over the boat.
Mike is especially good at this, and enjoys using a broom to scare them away. The 4am shift likes to start off their morning with some yoga in order to find their center and get their blood moving before interpreting data. All of the watches have seen some really cool seamounts and calderas and everyone is doing a really good job of interpreting the geologic features and how they may have come to be.

We are all taking full advantage of the sun while we are down here and you can find someone sunning on the bow of the boat at almost every hour. The hot tub has also been getting a lot of use.
A group gathers around the hot tub to hang out and watch the sunset.

The "man cave" enjoying the hot tub
There have also been lots of sightings of flying fish off the bow! We are all eagerly awaiting our arrival to the Galapagos Islands. Our estimated time of arrival is 7:00 am June 3rd. We will have the full day of the 3rd and a half-day on the 4th, we plan to leave port the afternoon of the 4th. Many trips are being planned while on the island, one is a snorkeling trip to Santa Fe Island, we will have a boat take us around to various snorkeling sights where we can see various fish and possibly sea lions and sharks. There is also a scuba diving trip for those who are certified. There is a trip to the highlands where wild finches and tortoises will be seen as well and a lava tube. A 7 km hike is another option for a short half day trip. Trips to the Charles Darwin Research Station will be going on, where you can learn about what is being done to conserve the islands as well as see some finches and tortoises, including Lonesome George, the only tortoise left of his species. If someone does not want to attend one of the several exciting trips, enjoying the beautiful landscape from the beach is a relaxing alternative.
Feel free to post questions and comments, we would love to hear from you!

One of the beautiful sunsets we have been lucky enough to enjoy.
For the newest installment of the Crew Corner, 3rd mate Jeff Kirby was interviewed, you can find the interview by clicking on the link below:

1 comment:

  1. I feel so jealous of you!!
    I remember 2 years ago me and my friends.. we all went to some Galapagos tourist class yachts.... I can't explain how fun it was! And you and your pics remind me so much to that moments...
    Hope I can be there back soon...
    anyway.. happy for you, it seems you're having a great time