Reeling in the MR1 “fish” signaled that dredging would finally begin, and our first dredge got underway this afternoon and has been memorable to say the least. Just north of Pinta Island, we aimed to dredge what appeared to be (from bathymetric maps) the farthest extent of a lava flow from Pinta. We may or may not have mentioned this before, but the winds in the region come primarily from the south. Since the ship only moves at about ¼ knot during dredging, we figured it would be a good idea to be facing into the wind as much as possible to avoid being blown off track. As we’re dredging from the ship’s starboard-side A-frame winch system, we had planned our dredges to comb the seafloor from west to east so the ship to stay pointing south. Unfortunately, strong currents in the area (possibly the result of being in such close proximity to Pinta Island) initially caused some headaches by pushing the ship off course and threatening to pull the dredge wire underneath the hull, which would not be good for the ship or the dredge wire. After some finagling, a safe course was set and the dredge continued smoothly.
Drew, Denny, and Dan securing the huge rock to a crane in order to move it.
Cheif scientist, Karen Harpp, and her prize catch!
Angela and Ally show off their muddy hands after sifting through piles of sediment brought up by the dredge.
It was an exhausting and exhilarating first day of dredging, and we’re hoping that the excitement of the first dredge continues through the next 39.