Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Battle at sea

Last night was the ultimate battle at sea. The were thrusters engaged, instrumentation pushed to the limits, and all hands on deck. Well, ok, so it was not quite that exciting. I was quietly sitting in my office pod when I got a radio call from the bridge from Cpt. Bill, "Rebecca, um..you are needed in the bridge."  Uh oh. I thought maybe he had some concern about the remaining route, but it really had to do with the circumstances surrounding the ascent on the site locality we were targeting. At the same time that we arrived at this previously identified seep site we were racing a smaller research vessell to the same locality.
WHOI research vessell in same area when we returned in the morning.
So we did some investigation into the ship name and determined it was the Oceanas and realize that they were after the same seep. One of the C and C technology survey guys found a link on the internet that explained that the Oceanas was commissioned by NOAA and NSF and that the onboard scientists were from WHOI. So I started joking with our scientists onboard that it was the battle of the research institutes: WHOI vs. CSIRO. The Captain established contact with the boat after about 15 minutes discussion and we relayed information. They had just recently deployed a buoy with a sensor array into the water (move #1) and then they informed us that they were going to be in the area for 36 hours (move #2). So we told them we would get back to them about our plan-- commando mission- don't relay your plans! In the end we decided to do several 'clover leaf' patterns around the suspected seep (~2.5 hours) and then head south returning to the area we left about 5 hours ago to try once again to relocate potential seeps. So through the night we left the site, cruised south, and then right at dawn slowly returned to the original site and quickly slipped into position while the Oceanas was distracted. Check mate! Then we sat there for about 6 hours and dropped two CTD casts. All and all it was a pretty funny event. You sure do have to be cut throat in the science and ship biz.
CTD retrieval with WHOI ship awaiting locality

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