August 13, 2009
I woke this morning to even greater rocking as the ship was turning and it was raining and windy outside. I was told at breakfast that the guns and sensors were stopped around 4:00 a.m. due to the gun mechanism getting under the streamer. We were in the process of getting them back right and returned to where we had left off on our survey.
Around 11:00 the sparker, which is another instrument that creates underwater sound, was deployed. This is a nice instrument but it only images well in the top layers. Since the scientists need data at least to 1000 meters, the air guns would be the best. This will allow some data to be collected while they try to fix the air guns.
About this time I was having problems of my own and knew that the ocean waves were definitely not the calm 2-3 foot waves that had been predicted. It was overcast and raining on and off. The seas, I was told, had gotten up to 6 feet. I can't imagine it being worse but they told me it could. Some of us practiced putting on the immersion suits and as I was taking mine off I knew it was time. Which would be quicker - trying to make it the restroom or over the side of the ship. I now understood seasickness. However, once that happened, I got my sea legs. We were still rolling and the seas were calming a bit but I ate supper and was fine.
There are marine mammal observers on board to be sure that these animals are not disturbed by the air guns. The observers stay on the flying bridge during daylight and observe at a radius of 300 meters from the ship. If they see any mammals they call to the lab and request that the guns be shut down. Today they saw a shark and while on deck some of us saw a sunfish. No problem with those.
Most of the afternoon was spent trying to fix the air guns but when they deployed and tried to fire them it was a "no go." Back to the sparker!
The goal of the project is to be able to have enough geological data to allow an offshore drilling program. To collect enough data we must run several lines of the ocean subsurface.
I finished my watch in the lab and decided to get a movie from the sitting area and watch it in my room. It has been an eventful day. We all hope that tomorrow will be getter - for the data collection and me.