CD 157: Investigating the submarine canyons offshore Portugal


Daily diary

Saturday 29th May 2004

Weather: cloudy, 20oC, wind NW 2-4, NW swell 

Main achievement

The technical crew, a multi-talented team of seven people lead by Jez, have been working all day trying to repair an electrical fault (left).  Currently, the winch cannot be used to send out any cable because the sensors attached to it are not able to feedback information. This is important because we need to know how much cable has been unwound and how fast it is travelling in the water. As we are writing this, success! The electrical fault has been repaired. During the rest of the day the 8000m of cable was paid out and recovered.

Duncan fixing with electrics

The work on the ship is broken into rotas, the scientists, technicians and crew work their own systems ensuring that there is always someone on watch. Elena is on watch from 2000hrs to 0400hrs and then from 1200 to1600hrs, Ian does the reverse. 


Russell keeping an eye out for sea monsters

We had time today to join Russell in a wildlife watch to record our observations on the surveys designed by pupils from our schools. We have seen a few seabirds such as Shearwaters and Terns but, due the depth of the water [around 4300m] and the low density of plankton we are not expecting to find much more. Later on Tiago (our Portuguese colleague) called us to see some dolphins on the starboard, we just had time to take a couple of photos, and from them Russell was able to identify them as striped dolphins.

Russell writes: the last two days on passage have produced quite a lot of Cory's Shearwaters and Bulwer's Petrels, with a few Madeiran Storm-Petrels. These seabirds all breed on the Canaries and Madeira and have decreased as we left the islands behind. A few Common Terns moving north were probably late migrants. Yesterday a Turtle Dove settled briefly on the ship. One Green Turtle has been seen and cetaceans have included a group of eight Striped Dolphins and last night we had at least three Fin Whales.

Dolphins alongside the ship

Stunning seabirds right next to the ship!


A very enjoyable day, specially watching the dolphins without feeling sea sick - hooray! Last preparations  as we approach the study area.

The team preparing for the start of work

Elena clutching her precious anti-seasickness tablets!

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October 2003
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