Friday, April 6, 2012

Thanksgiving Cruise

  I went to sea the days preceding Thanksgiving of last year. While I wouldn't be able to comment on the cruise now (it's been too long, sorry about that), I do have an informal cruise report I provided my adviser immediately following the cruise. Please note, I've edited the specific instruments to be intentionally vague.
Cruise Dates: 20-Nov-2012 to 24-Nov-2012
Cruise Goal: Mooring maintenance, instrument recovery
After a rainy departure, we awoke Monday to clear skies and a warning from the Navy. We were told on the radio that they were conducting bombing operations near Santa Barbara Island, and gave us an area to avoid. The captain of course obliged, adding a few hours to the 60+ hours of steaming we had over the entire cruise.
Monday afternoon brought us to the site of the rogue instrument, which Christian immediately unhooked. It came up less than 200m from the boat, and was spotted instantly. After a successful recovery, Mark got really excited about some small things growing on it.
More steaming as the sun went down, meeting us at sunrise Tuesday morning at CCE1. Christian and I hopped in the small boat and onto the buoy, swapped out the battery, and returned with minimal trouble. As Mark did his tow experiments, we got word that the system had returned data.
Small Boat Launch
Open-ocean Mooring 
On a personal note, I have only been seasick twice in my life, the second time being on that mooring as it bounced up and down. Resistance was impossible, as the horizon was visible only through a grate that moved with me.
Returning to Ship
Mark's tow experiments involved an instrument conducting profiles while the ship was underway. The instrument measured standard temp/salinity, and also had an interesting method to measure zooplankton as they passed.
We arrived at CCE2 well before the sun rose Wednesday morning, giving Mark's group the opportunity to run their zooplankton profiles before it was safe to drop the small boat in the water. When we finally made it to the buoy, we grabbed the system. It was neat to listen as the surface instrument collected its measurement for 0700. Back in the large boat, Mark again got excited about some biology, before his team helped us clean and swap the instrument.
Near-shore mooring
The small boat went back in the water, and the buoy went back together. We also had some pictures taken of us from the New Horizon as they brought themselves close. The way home saw us threading through the channel islands two hours ahead of schedule. This gave Mark more time with his zooplankton profiles on the way home.
Santa Rosa Island
Santa Cruz Island
After passing the GEOCE mooring late at night, we arrived back in San Diego at 0730, Thanksgiving Morning. 
I didn't have time to make it home, so I went to potluck out in North Park at a fellow Grad Student's place; I ate more food than was comfortable.