Be sure to check out today's interview with the HMRG crew, as tonight is their last night on the ship before they head for home after a quick stop in the Galapagos!
So today was quite a busy day on the ship as we successfully landed three bountiful dredges, and we're currently in the process of our first TowCam excursion. There's still the possibility that we fit one more dredge in tonight before we head for our mid-cruise pit-stop on Santa Cruz. The dredges produced a number of interesting rock samples that kept us busy throughout the night and all day. We were diligently describing, cutting, classifying, labeling, and packaging the samples fresh from the seafloor. A couple of the samples were interesting in that they had a texture that was unique compared with most of the others we've hauled on deck so far. The plagioclase (a white mineral common to basalt) crystals in the rocks were relatively large and quite abundant. A few of them seem to be museum quality samples so we obviously weren't allowed to cut those up.
One of the really cool samples we dredged up with the large plagioclase crystals.
This is what happens when everyone else is sleeping from 12-4 in the morning. Cam, Marques, and Nick take a break from processing rocks.
The tools of the trade. Choose wisely.
As we write this, the TowCam is currently between 5 and 10 meters off the ocean floor, snapping pictures of the underwater terrain. Hopefully, the high resolution pictures we obtain give us a better idea of what the sea floor actually looks like so that we can better interpret the bathymetric maps we've been making over the last two weeks.
Everyone's excited for our stop in the Galapagos that begins tomorrow. Tonight at midnight the ship sets its course for Santa Cruz and we hope to arrive by around 7 AM tomorrow. After making our way through customs, we hope to be on dry land by 9 and roaming around the island soon after that. Most of the group is taking a trip up into the highlands where we hope to see tortoises, Darwin's finches, blue-footed boobies, and trees that apparently look like they're straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. We're also getting a tour of the Charles Darwin Research Center, home to Lonesome George, the last tortoise of his species, and a number of other interesting specimens. The senior scientists have also arranged for a cocktail hour at one of the local restaurants for both the science team and the crew.
Krista and Cait being doused with ice by Nick and Cam.
In other interesting news, prank wars have begun on the ship. Mike finally located his watch after days of searching for it in the main science lab. Everyday at 3:30 and every hour on the hour his alarm would beep, but thanks to the handiwork of a few unnamed individuals who wrapped it around the pipes on the ceiling he was unable to locate it. After his few days spent attempting to triangulate its position with no success, he used his keen instincts and a particularly strong sense of smell to spot it camouflaged against the ceiling. Also, as Krista and Cait thought they were safely relaxing in the hot tub, Cam, Nick, and Marques decided they were a little too cozy in the steamy water. They loaded up 2 large buckets full of ice and dumped them on the unsuspecting victims, much to their surprise. Revenge has been sworn. Stay tuned for updates from the front lines.The missing watch has been returned to its rightful place on Carbone's wrist.