Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All's ashore that's going ashore

When the captain announced that the gangplank was being pulled, perhaps many of us were thinking in terms of the reverse flow of goods - all that is ashore is staying ashore. Fortunately, Tanner and Tracy had purchased many last-minutes supplies - extra notebooks, bungee cords, tinfoil, and garbage bags - so we felt prepared by the time we left port at 1200.

The ship was abuzz with activity on the part of the crew and the science party. Fueled by a delicious breakfast that included mangos, Ranier cherries, papayas, the scientists continued to secure their gear and began preparing experiments, all while starting to figure out the maze of the ship's layout. Rick Keil's group got their sediment traps assembled in the staging bay, while another group threaded hose on deck. The Mincer experiments got underway, filling the lab with the fragrance of nutrient broth.

Once underway, we received a safety debriefing from First Mate Brian. The other first time seafarers were fortunate enough to cloak ourselves in our insulated emergency dry suits.

Tonight, we reconvened for a science meeting. It was the first chance to get everyone in the same space sharing their projects. Of course, scheduling was the top priority on the agenda, as the Chief Scientist aims to coordinate everyone getting the samples they desire with the ship's necessities. The famous Sinking Particle Facebook group "Big Poop Sinks Faster" clearly articulates one of our main concerns - considering the 1 knot current, how far must we steam away from our sediment traps so that we don't catch our own particles when we dump ship?

The first deployment of the CTD begins tonight at 2200, with many of the first time cruise members assisting. Despite the enthusiasm for tonight's activities, the long awaited deployments of the sediment traps begins tomorrow. The first successful particle retrieval will allow us to finally employ the arduously constructed labs and investigate hypotheses established from last year's quorum sensing cruise.

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