CD 157: Investigating the submarine canyons offshore Portugal


Daily diary

Saturday 12th June 2004

Weather: Still cloudy and grey but brightening, hope yet for a sunny afternoon. Still warm, we’ve had the air con on, sea state  a little choppy.

Ian writes...

Main Achievement

Last night Elena, Phil and I made up a poster for presentational purposes. This took a few hours but, at the end we had a pretty good draft. It is a wonderful thing to be able to collate three different sets of ideas and resources so easily and to produce something that is constructive and useful. A lot of this is enabled by the technology, three laptops, digital stills cameras and a digital video camera, plus an advanced software programme. However, even with this technology the activity would be less easy and possibly impossible if there was no co-operation. I think that we work well together.

Today is the last day of sampling and at lunchtime we will probably have taken our last core. Then follows a massive tidying up session which has got to be completed by the end of the day. The ship will set a course for Vigo in northern Spain and we are aiming to dock in the early morning. Customs clearance will be needed before we are allowed off the ship. [I hope that Dan’s passport problems will have been sorted out!]



Although I still have a day on the ship and nearly two days before I return home, my thoughts are with the final jobs I have to do. My reflections are based on the feelings of our watch and the scientists on board

Regarding the geology, Phil believes that the cruise has been successful; we understand more about the canyon geology and how it operates this is due to the successful coring operation. A disappointment is that we have not been able to use the deep sea camera on SHRIMP or the deep tow profiler. These views are shared by Russell and Dan. However, all believe that it has been a happy cruise and that the team has worked well. The presence of Elena and myself has added a new dimension which, I’m thankful to report, Phil feels has been positive.

Duncan is also disappointed about the geophysics and the camera but is pleased to have witnessed coring in action and that the new seismic logging system worked well.

Dan’s memory will be seeing the whale from the small boat. Belinda "It’s nice to go travelling, but it’s oh so nice to come home" [Let's hope the homeward journey does not promote the sickness she experienced during the fist few days!] Sara has tried to avoid the camera and making a final comment, so I’ll just mention her anyway.

As for me, it has been a fantastic opportunity and a wonderful experience. It’s not been the holiday my colleagues at school predicted. I hope that my watch feel that I’ve pulled my weight in the physical work and I hope that I’ve fulfilled the aim of making marine science accessible to a wider school audience.

I will miss the sea and the hugely different feel that it gives to you, despite the work this has been a stress-free fortnight. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of research science and finding out new things. Putting some of the work into science that is accessible to pupils has been challenging and I have a feeling of frustration in that there is more to do, but isn’t that often the way? However, this is not a full stop to the project. I won’t miss the noise of the winch, the mud or getting up at 3.30am!

I would like to express my thanks to the ship’s crew  for all of their hospitality which contributed so much to the comfort. Special thanks to all of the crew who agreed to be interviewd and who showed us  where and how they work.

Finally, thank you to all of the scientists and technicians with whom I worked. I experienced much friendship and support and I genuinely felt  part of the team. Phil and Vikki, back at SOC, deserve special thanks for making this opportunity possible.

Ian Lewis

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October 2003
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