August 25, 2009
Latitude: N 40° 48' 58"
FOG! That pretty much sums up the day as far as being anything. We sailed into the fog bank yesterday and have been in it most of the time ever since. There was a brief time today when the fog moved away and we could see a mile or two away. Tim saw tuna including a large one that jumped. I did see one swimming by because its dorsal and upper tail fin broke the surface as we passed.
Otherwise the story has been the ocean. I will use an analogy we used when I went to college in West Tennessee about the weather. If you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes and see if you like what it changed to. The ocean seems to act the same way. Six-foot swells give way to an eerie calm to windy conditions with white caps.
We did a number of stations today with the early ones still abundant in "clingons" but the last couple started having lots of copepods, which is what we want to find. Hopefully the nets will be filled with the copepods and not the "clingons" the rest of the trip.
Today I soloed on the computer operating the CTD unit and I did everything right... EXCEPT I forgot to turn on the computer program to record the CTD data. Caught the error before too much time was lost but still. Jerry has the patience of a saint and later made me do the computer. I soloed fine this time.
We also did the fire drill and abandon ship drill with no loss of life. Well yea, it was just two drills.
I really feel sorry for Tim and Holly, two researchers documenting birds found off the East coast of the North America. The fog has limited their ability to see many birds but they are persevering and still see a lot more birds than I would have expected. I have learned a number of things about the birds we are seeing. For example, one species of bird actually nests in southern Chile and winters in the North Atlantic. That is a long way to travel. There was even a Great Blue Heron,which is not normal as it is a wading bird and we were 70 miles off the coast. It must have been blown off shore by the hurricane or a thunderstorm. Hope the heron makes it. Tim said there are cases where land birds blown out to see find a large ship, land on it and the crew feed it. Let us hope the heron has the same luck.