By Darcy Perin
Week two completed onboard the R.V Sally Ride! On New Year’s Eve we celebrated twice (once for UTC time and once for local time). We spent the holiday playing games, dancing around, listening to music and collecting zooplankton (our biologists onboard found an anglerfish in the MOCNESS net!). On New Year’s Day we had an elegant eggs benedict breakfast and then a barbeque for dinner. As of January 7th, we have completed 35 stations, tripling the number of stations completed from our first cruise to the ETNP (Eastern Tropical North Pacific). We are now making our way North, towards the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) off the coast of Mexico. Unfortunately, are ship was not granted Mexican clearance, so we are about 200 miles off the coast. In addition to sample collection, we have also been given the task of decorating/graffitiing four ARGO floats as part of an education outreach program. Most of the students onboard have also been collecting Styrofoam ice-cream cups and we plan to decorate them and send them down on the rosette to 1000m so they can shrink up and become keychain size!
Unfortunately, there have also been a few hiccups. For example, a few days ago we had to alter our course in order to avoid a pretty nasty storm (50 knott winds). We caught the tail end of it, but it sure was a bumpy ride, and not many people were able to sleep due to the excessive rocking. There were also buoyancy issues with the first two floats that were deployed. It appears that the floats went down, but never resurfaced, so communications were lost. Monetarily, this is equivalent to driving two Ferraris straight into the ocean. However, our ingenious scientists onboard seem to have solved this issue! Yesterday the modified float design was tested, and the small boat onboard was deployed in case the float needed to be recovered. Thankfully, the boat was not needed, and it was a successful float deployment!