ARMADA logo ARMADA Project -- Research and Mentoring Experiences for Teachers National Science Foundation logo


Journals 2004/2005

Laurelynn Brooks
Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, Washington

"Investigating the link between alkenones and sea surface temperature"
R/V New Horizon
July 5-23, 2004
Journal Index:
July 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12

      13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19

      20 - 21 - 22 - 23

July 13, 2004
Stormy weather

Ida and I are up at 0200 to help with the CTD run. The seas are noticeably rougher, with about twelve degrees of rolling. I overhear Fred and Brian.
"It's the tropical storm issue".
Brian can't find a computer file and I feel tension in the air.
Fred suggests, "Do a search".
Brian types as fast as possible, but the computer seems like it is just waking up too.
Matt's voice cracks through the intercom from the winch station: "You guys ready?"
A long silent tense pause...then, "Still searching for the file," clicks Brian over the wires. With great relief, the file is found and by 0220, CTD Cast 5 is on its way over the side of RV New Horizon. I notice Jeremy's keen attention to detail, even though he looks bleary-eyed. With swiftness and ease, he spies and quickly catches a misplaced hook before it falls to the depths, all without a blink.

We retrieve the CTD, fill netted bottles for the incubation experiment, store them in the refrigerator, and then send the CTD on its vertical wet journey again. The seas are rolling us about twenty degrees now, and our relative wind is nineteen miles per hour. We can feel the waters getting increasingly rougher as we attempt to move around in the lab. I give up trying to do any titrations since I am tired and my samples are sloshing around. So we affectionately tease Ida with more Bob Marley jokes while waiting for CTD Cast 6 to surface. At 0340 the winch is cranking the CTD slowly up the water column while the New Horizon is lurching on the waves. Suspended in the air, dripping, and almost on deck when the cable frays, there is no time to even wonder where the 750 pounds of CTD will land. Miraculously the team of Heather, Jeremy and Matt get the CTD secured on deck, and make immediate efforts of examining and repairing the snapped cables. Temporarily the "science" is cancelled for the night.

Ida and I are thankful to go below to sleep off the storm. The winds are 60 miles per hour now. As I head downstairs, I am aware that Jeremy and the crew will keep working to fix the cable so that we can continue our research as soon as possible. I realize that the CTD is our main tool for collecting our water samples, and wonder what we would do without it.

I am up for breakfast at 0730 for Eggs Benedict, but I only see Mark and Pol. The ship seems empty and quiet so I retreat to my bunk for more rest. The storm seems to have blown over. No one got seasick as far as I know. I wander into the galley and catch Pol spinning pizza dough in the air. At 1100 we are ready to deploy and test CTD Cast 7. Although the crew seems to have disappeared, "science" seems to be humming along again. Fred is working on a pump of some kind. The two Mexican scientists, Patty and Eduardo, who arrived in a sea taxi from Guaymas, set up a lab station nearby. We laugh and talk about last night's storm as we work.

With the sun so hot during the day, I wait until night to get on the exercise bike, which is located on the top deck outside. While riding, below on the aft deck I see Brian's characteristic fling of wrist, which tells me that he is fishing. This is nothing new, but still fun to watch, especially from my comfortable perch.

Then I hear a squeal that I can't ignore. Heather has caught a squid about two feet long! By the time I get to the lower deck, Patty is playing with the squid. She touches it, and its color changes from dark red to a whitish grey. Now Captain appears and Brian asks if he wants to catch one. Of course! I offer to clean the squid, since I am a pro from so many biology squid dissections. But it takes a while, since we get three, and they are so huge! By 2200 over ten pounds of slimy squid tentacles are bagged and in the freezer. My clothes stink. I take a shower, do laundry, and then catch a couple hours of sleep before our next CTD cast at 0200.

Return to Journals Index