SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
October 27, 2014
34°00.2’ N x 13°48.4’ W
Today was a prominent day for science and the crew of the Cramer, because it was Seamount Day! Some of you may be wondering what exactly a seamount is, but it’s exactly what it sounds like, a mountain in the sea. Although these mountains don’t break the surface of the ocean, they can be just as massive as the ones we see on land. These volcanic structures host a very unique habitat underneath the sea surface, and can be home to some species rarely found anywhere else. They also provide an environment high in biodiversity, and create fascinating oceanographic data that is very interesting to study in many of the projects being done by students on board. Starting at 0400 this morning, we as a boat began our “hike” across the Seine Seamount. Ahead of us waited multiple scientific deployments and seamount related activities.
My watch, A watch, just happened to be on deck as we first started to see the 4000m tall peak show up on our depth finder, or what we call “the chirp”. The chirp is something that to new-comers on board is very recognizable, because it literally is a chirp that you can hear from almost anywhere on the boat. After a couple days though, you can’t even notice it anymore and, in fact, I had to try really hard to try and notice it as I write this. Anyways the Seine Seamount doesn’t just gradually rise from 4100+m to 86m in depth; it actually shoots up at a very steep slope. This meant that we had to quickly deploy our CTD carousel in order to get as much oceanographic data as possible to make an accurate profile of the surrounding waters of the seamount. This was the very first nighttime CTD deployment of the entire trip so far. In 2.5 hours our watch was able to deploy and retrieve 2 full CTDs, collecting temperature, salinity, depth, oxygen, chlorophyll, and nutrient data all before turning over the deck to B watch and sunrise. During this time, everyone awake was very busy changing sails, running equipment, and even cooking up some Seamount Muffins for breakfast. To say the least, it was a thrilling way to start the day. By 0700, it was time for my watch and me to step down and eat some of those Seamount Muffins. However, Seamount Day was not over yet, it was just beginning.
Over the course of the next 6 hours, B watch continued to take more water samples and deploy various nets in hopes of catching all sorts of seamount nekton. Although, they didn’t catch any jellies, there was still much life to be found in the waters of the Seine Seamount, including a tiny octopus.
Off watch, much of the crew was getting crafty. Myself, and many others are working on ditty bags, which are basically little tote bags made of sail canvas. I began sewing my bag back in Cadiz, and since then it has inspired others to do the same or start other small crafting projects like key chains or bracelets. I don’t want to reveal too much though, in case some of these “ditties” end up under your Christmas tree.
In the afternoon, Seamount day continued with salad and toppings for lunch, however by this point I believe we had finished our hike across the seamount. As we get closer and closer to Madeira and the end of our voyage, it becomes ever more apparent that we all need to wrap up our respective projects, and start working on final drafts. For the rest of the day, I was working on my research project about the relationship of oxygen and nutrient levels throughout the different water masses of our voyage. I have a lot of data to sift through, but I’m very excited to put out an interesting and informative product by the time we get to the Canary Islands.
Although Seamount Day is coming to a close, I am looking forward to tomorrow where we will be that much closer to Madeira, and hopefully we’ll be celebrating Atlantis Day, as we sail over the coordinates in which Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” says the lost civilization is located.
Heading up to Deck Watch,