August 17, 2009
Latitude: N 41° 42' 518"
I spent most of this day eating and buying snack supplies and meeting a few members of the crew as we were scheduled to sail at 1400 hours. HOWEVER we did not depart until 1400 hours because of a visit from a congressional aide who toured the ship. No, I do not know the purpose of the visit. By then I was helping put flow meters on the bongo nets.
The flow meters tell how much water passes through the bongo nets as they are being towed. You would think that wouldn't be necessary but the nets are filling with plankton which block the pores in the net as so less water flows thru. This gives an accurate picture of how much water was filtered for plankton.
The bongo nets are called this because each set consists of 2 plankton nets with round openings and resemble the tops of bongo drums. The bongo is towed about 5 meters above the ocean floor for about 20 minutes and then brought back up. A 15 lb. (estimate) weight is used to make the bongo sink and the speed of the ship controls how deep it goes.
I worked on deck for the first bongo pull. My job initially was to attach the weight and make sure it doesn't hit the side of the ship going out and returning. My second job was to wash the plankton in the bongo nets to the bottom of the nets called the cod's end. The plankton was collected into jars, one per net, preserved with formaldehyde and stored. Then I went to bed. My shift is 6 am to 6pm.
I will include pictures in my next journal entry as my camera is in the room with my sleeping roommate and I don't want to wake him. His shift is daylight or whenever needed. We are also watching Hurricane Bill as our paths are on a collision course this weekend.