December 22, 2006
To all: Looks like most of the crew and myself are getting use to the motion. Better day for all. We have reached our first sampling site southeast of New Zealand. The sea is calmer then the last few days. Currently we are scanning the bottom (over 15000 feet down) and getting ready to send down the "lander" to take core samples. Should take about 4 hours to deploy and recover. When the core comes back on deck (basically a long pvc pipe full of sediment), we will begin processing. There are over 30 scientists from all over the world participating and getting a share. My group will be performing chemical analysis on the core and checking for levels of oxygen, chlorine, nitrates, sulfates, methane, ethane, propane, and others. All this will allow later study relating to the ocean's impact on our environment. Other science groups will be collecting bacterial and geological samples. You can go to the RV Roger Reveille site to get current ship location. To all...have a great Christmas. We have finished up at the first site and are now heading to number 2. Weather has improved and we are making good progress. Yesterday I spent most of my time playing in the mud. Not really. The sediment looks like mud but it also holds many treasures. As the cores came up they were labeled and sent to the various labs. There are biologist, geologist, chemists, and geophysicist on board and each process samples as desired. Within the chemistry lab, I pressed out the water from each core sample and saved it for additional testing today. The remaining sediment (now referred to as the "hockey puck" is bagged and frozen for analysis back at the university. Wildlife seen to date includes only birds and flying fish. We are in a part of the South Pacific that they call the "South Pacific Gyre". Remote. Someone said we will be reaching an area of the ocean today that is further from any land mass you can be. Photos so far are not possible with the limited server access. Please send your questions if you have any. Ship underway to next site. All samples have been pressed and several tests ran on extracted water. Evening shift in chem. Lab took care of most of the wet chemistry. Time taken to cleanup lab and review data. Spent 3 hours in computer lab maintaining a position log and other data. As we move from place to place detailed records are being kept of the sea floor. I had always thought the sea floor (benthic) was fairly flat. IT IS NOT. Just visualize a trip across the US. There are valleys, gorges, plains, mountain peaks and ridges. Strange sites for a land lover like me. Navigators tell us we should arrive at next site tomorrow morning. When we arrive, several hours will be taken to chart the region and select the best point for probing. Probes and landers should begin going over the side later that day. Happy holidays.