August 28, 2009
Latitude: N 41° 38' 65"
Our last full day at sea began with a beautiful sunrise. Tropical Storm Danny has forced us to come in a day early but we still stopped at all but a couple of stations that we were scheduled to stop and collect plankton. I have been talking about stations all trip and I'll bet you are wondering what they are. Well the area we collected specimens from is divided into regions and a computer program selects so many sites within each region by latitude and longitude. Then the chief scientist and the ship's master determine the best route to reach all of these points, now referred to as stations, in the most efficient manner. Time between stations can be as short as a half hour or as long as seven hours but was usually one to two hours.
My last day started out with the promise of a few stations to work. We went to our most northern station on the whole trip which happened to be in the Gulf of Maine and it was our busiest station. We did a bongo/baby bongo tow, Alison did her third and final sediment grab, and the rosette was sent down to collect water samples and that is when the problem happened. The rosette had a communication issue again. The water capture bottles did not receive the message to close. The technicians finally discovered the problem after testing every thing and found a wire near the connection to the rosette was burned in half. We sat for three hours while the repair was completed and finally did the water collection. We did one more rosette station on my watch and then my final watch ended.
The rosette water collection is for our final group of scientists, Antonio, Mike, Margie, and Fritz. They are from NASA Goddard Space Center and Old Dominion University and are working on a variety of experiments including nutrients and DNA/RNA. They have tanks of water that have seawater constantly flowing through and covered with various black mesh to control the amount of light penetrating into each tank. That is as much an explanation as I can provide.
My last full day at sea is coming to a close. My future journal entries will reflect on what I have learned and Woods Hole, MA. From the Delaware II, Good Night.