II. DAY TWO: Thursday, July 8, 2004
Today the weather took a turn for the worse. It was raining, dreary and cold. The walk to breakfast was less than enjoyable in the rain but after a hot breakfast I was ready to get started. I arrived at the lab at 7:45 AM Betsy joined me a few minutes later. My first days work was to examine the still photos we had taken aboard the Nancy Foster. Each pictures had two red dots made by the lasers on the SEABOSS. These provide a measurement reference of the sea floor. The distance between the dots is 20 cm. Each pictures dots are measured using a special calibration tool. I recorded the measurements for each photo at each site. Usually there are about twenty photos taken at each site. I recorded the date, site, transect, photo number and width measurements. With this information Betsy can go back and calculate the sea floor area. In the afternoon I began recording data from the video recordings taken by the SEABOSS. I basically practiced using the equipment and learning what to look for. It's a little difficult, you must stay focused on the video, have a quick eye and be very observant. To give you an idea of how tricky it can be let me tell you about the flounder. They can make themselves vertically invisible in the sand and mud. All you see is a light outline of the fish under the surface suddenly it scouts out and darts off your screen. The easiest thing to spot are the sea stars and they are abundant! I was scanning the video in one minute intervals and recording anything I saw on a data sheet. At one point I recorded a mylar balloon still in tact, even the Happy Birthday on it was still readable.
It is amazing what you find on the sea floor. At day's end it was still raining, I walked to dinner and then back to my cabin. Betsy had found me an extra umbrella it made the walk in the rain much more enjoyable.
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