SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
December 02, 2015
Anticipating Researchers’ Ridge
Description of location
Just crossed into the Western Tropical Atlantic
Weather / Wind
6/8ths cloud cover, seas 4-8ft, winds 20-25kts.
We make our way towards Researchers' Ridge, a seamount sprouting out of the mid-Atlantic ridge coming to within 420 meters of the surface. The hope is to be able to follow up on the deployments of last year's C-256 and gather sediment samples from the seamount with our sediment scoop. A clever contraption called a Shipek Grab, it consists of two semi-circles, one of which, when cocked, nests inside the other, held in place by two large coil springs. The grab is deployed via the hydrowinch, lowered at full speed, and when it hits the bottom a 40lb weight triggers the device which acts much like a bear trap, springing the one semi-circle through the sediment and shut, trapping whatever it encounters inside to be retrieved. This includes the saught-after soft sediments, but has (in my experience) also included deep sea glass sponges (hexasterophora), brittle stars, gastropods shells inhabited and vacant, many crabs, coral fragments, and one half of an unlucky urchin. However, the seas must lay down a bit to make for safe sediment sampling, so everyone on C watch is hoping to wake at 0230 (dawn watch) to a calmer sea state. More updates to come!
Life on G-Watch has a rhythm and a regularity. Below deck is a semi-stable environment compared to the changing weather on deck: the lights are dim, Roxy the stove is crankin', and the galley is full of giggles. Every day is still adventurous though, and I like wandering around the boat saying hi to all of the busy departments, but the region of shipboard life I get to hang out with the least is probably science. I don't really have a handle on all of the awesome projects that are going on in lab, but there are so many! People are sorting Sargassum, pipetting, and making graphs, but that's all I've got. HOWEVER: the premise of a seamount cruise taunts me like the smell of cookies or Morgan's herb bread tantalizes everyone on deck. I can't wait to learn more about this awesome geological /oceanographic feature/adventure, and I might not be able to stay in the galley for long while we pass over. We might be eating cereal for a while, I want to be poking around in the mud/fresh rock, if we can find some, or in the doghouse looking at charts and bathymetry. I'm so excited for the next few days!
Greetings from deck! Life above and below decks is as rolly as ever but we are getting better at walking, sea legs are not something you get and have forever. It's not really like riding a bicycle. Moving at sea requires attention to your surroundings and extra effort to stay upright. Sitting is not as easy either, even now as I write this post, I am rocking back and forth. Sometimes, it takes both hands and feet to stay seated. Even sleeping is more complicated. I still find it weird when my feet roll to and fro in my bunk as we roll back and forth. But despite the continual movement of our environment the students are learning a ton. C-watch have all successfully set and struck our square sails, the course and tops'l, multiple times and for the most part without any hiccups. Additionally, they are continually being given more responsibility in the running of the ship. Hope everyone at home is staying warm and enjoying the holiday season, we have some paper snowflakes hanging in the main saloon. Sending warm thoughts to everyone at home, miss you and I will be sure to share lots more stories when I get home