by Jenny Nakai:
The map shows the progress we’ve made thus far, the multicolored dots represent Lamont-Doherty, Texas, and Japanese instruments, and the large yellow dots are instruments that have been deployed. We are making good progress for the second day!
Yesterday was my second full day at sea, and I felt a bit better. We deployed a trawl resistant BPR (bottom pressure recorder), which just measures pressure, in a shallow part of the ocean very close to the New Zealand shore. This instrument has sloped sides in all four directions to prevent fishing nets from making them part of the daily catch.
Trawl resistant pressure recorder with floats.
Ocean bottom seismometers have been caught up in fishing nets before, and in one great disaster in Italy, 10-12 were brought up from the depths of the ocean by trawlers, or commercial fishing boats, and were badly damaged in the process. Basically, these trawl resistant instruments are designed so the nets just glide over them. The only caveat is that it is difficult to keep them upright as they are floating down in the water to the seafloor. So a string of floats (the floats have glass spheres inside) is released with the instrument to keep it upright. When the instrument gets to the bottom (about 70-80 meters in this case) the technicians talk to it acoustically, and the floats are released. They take a few minutes to float back up, and it is a guessing game as to the exact location where they will pop up. They are then brought back into the boat.
We saw pilot whales this morning, and we even caught up with a couple of them as they were swimming around. First you see a puff of air and water come up from their blowholes, and then you can see fins popping up in the water.
Pilot whales, air and water from their blowholes.
A lot of people I have talked to are getting hungrier on the water then they normally would be. Our kitchen serves full on meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the first mate says that is how sailors can increase their pay, by eating a bunch of food. However, I am very skeptical of food, especially meat, right now.
How these birds can just sit on the water baffles me.
There were so many dolphins playing around the ship this afternoon!
Dolphins (photo by Justin Ball).
There were a lot at the bow, just flapping around. I could even hear their high-pitched squeals to each other. Who knows what they were saying. “Hey guys, do you think we’ll get some treats?”