February 28, 2008

No it wasn’t Santa Claus confused about which pole to call home. It was a
giant rock on deck. Definitely, not something we see everyday. Just when
we think we’re in the groove and things are feeling a bit predictable, the
ocean reminds us that nothing is mundane at sea. The first hints that
this site is a little different from previous sites came during the survey
and from previous sidescan images of the area. We are positioned over a
basin with a smooth muddy bottom, but there is substantial bottom relief
nearby. Then, the CTD/camera tow ended a bit prematurely when we
discovered a rock wall in its path. No significant damage was incurred,
but the CTD frame will need a little work. Then during the otter trawl
the wire tension jumped to 10,000 pounds (it had been on the order of
3,000 lbs.). The marine project coordinator and shift leader made the call
to get it off the bottom quickly, because, we can’t afford to lose or rip
the net. The tension quickly returned to a normal level, but folks were a
little anxious waiting for it to surface. Yes, we caught a boulder
instead of animals. And yes, we sampled the animals attached to the rock
(limpets, serpulid polychaetes, and bryazoans).

Liz sampling the animals growing attached to the rock.

Here's a sight more typical after an otter trawl. It's a starfish that
was brooding its young. Awe, aren't all baby starfish cute?

Our other bit of excitement is the weather forecast. There is another low
headed our way with snow. Seas are supposed to build overnight and the
snow maybe quite heavy. We rearranged our sampling schedule a bit to try
to finish much of the coring earlier than planned and save things like the
Tucker trawl for later. The clouds and wind are already moving in.

Position: 65 degrees 59.002 minutes South; 67 degrees 17.104 minutes West
Heading: 42.5 degrees
Speed over ground: 0.9 knots
Air temp. 4.5 degrees C; Water temp. 1.845 degrees C


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