SEA Currents: research
Caribbean Reef Expedition: Week 8 at Sea
Bryan Jew, of University of California, San Diego, describes his research in the Tobago Cays as part of SEA Semester’s Caribbean Reef Expedition.
Sharks and Sights of Montserrat
So there I was, done with my first transect for the day. Steph and I finished our sampling early in Rendezvous Bay and instead of doing another as professional scientists would, we decided to explore. The reef in Montserrat was one of the best we’ve seen so far, even better than the Tobago Cays I’d say. The diversity of coral was surprising and exciting to see, as were the fish. Some big sights of the day include a lionfish, two sea turtles, and a big fat barracuda.
A big “Ahoy, matey!” from the deck of the Robert C. Seamans! As we reach the 3-week mark of our open ocean cruise, your favorite pirates are getting comfortable with life at sea and the trappings that come along with work on a tall-masted ship. Although we are scraping the dregs of the reefer and pining for fresh vegetables, don’t fret – unlike voyagers in the 17th and 18th centuries, we aren’t suffering from scurvy quite yet!
After dinner last night, Captain Bill called a mysterious meeting to discuss an exciting activity that we would be participating in today.
This morning I got my wake up with the news that we were starting our Anchor Watch (1 hour rotations instead of a full 6 hours), and that the anchor was just now getting dropped. I stepped out onto the deck greeted by a clear sky full of stars, dark masses of land bordering our ship, and the sound of 3 shots (each shot is 90 feet) of chain being let out as our ship tethered to the sea floor. It is a bitter sweet mix of feelings seeing land again.
Towards the Smoking Sea
Today we continued our sail to the volcanic island of Montserrat, hopefully arriving tonight to deploy our science equipment off the coast. While waking up at 6 has never been something I’d plan for back home, such is life on the Cramer.
Snorkeling in the Cays has been the highlight of the trip so far. It had by far the greatest variety of fish, and the urchins I’m looking at for my project are almost carpeting some areas.
Be the Gimbal
In the morning we picked up anchor outside of Petit Rameau and motored on over to an anchorage outside Canouan to clear customs. After that, we motored away from Canouan and set the sails for the first time in several days – It’s great to be underway again. Not too much is happening now, so let me tell you a tale about science.
Picture this: It’s a beautiful evening in lab, and you’re hard at work taking measurements.
Wandering the Cays
This past week has been an exciting one aboard the Corwith Cramer! We anchored off of Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a beautiful day. The sky was clear and the seas calmer compared to the rough conditions we experienced a few days before. We soon got to come on shore and went about the town peeking into stores and wandering the island. A few of us hiked Fort Hill and were rewarded with spectacular views of the bay and some small islands around Union Island’s southern end.
A Zoo of Zooplanktons
A couple of weeks ago, Steve, the third scientist excitedly told me to grab my camera and come to lab-there was a lens they thought might work to photograph samples under the microscope. With a little puttering and a lot of knob turning, the eerie space ship bodies of the dinoflagellates and copepods began to come into focus.
The Great Blue Yonder
Less than a week has gone by since we first set foot on the ship, but as we glide (and roll and tumble) through the Caribbean, it sometimes already feels like multiple lifetimes. Time works differently at sea, especially when you’re on the Cramer, where our days are divided into 6-hour watch intervals as we assist with tasks like sail handling and steering or processing oceanographic data in our small but highly functional lab.
Hello all yee blog readers! We have officially crossed over into the Atlantic and let me tell you, it was quite significant. So far our crew has done amazing work on learning to set sails, plot positions, deploy all the science equipment, practice rescue mission protocols and even learn to cook glorious meals for a ton of hungry hungry sailors.