CD 166: Investigating the underwater avalanches offshore Morocco


Daily diary

Monday November 1st 2004

Aggie and Marga write:

"Last night everyone got engaged in an interesting debate about a red light they could see in the sky. Some called it a plane, others a star or a ship, a lot of things...even the end of the world! It turned out it was just the moon. Marga kept telling them so, but no-one wanted to believe her. Later Doug agreed with her and everyone accepted it when they saw it coming out from behind the clouds!

Early in the morning we collected our last core for this work area and then we started steaming south. It will take a couple of days to reach the Agadir work area, so everyone has found other interests. Some are catching up on their work, others sunbathing or reading or playing table football, and the crew getting some rest and doing some work on the ship. It’s worth mentioning that although everyone in the UK changed their clocks yesterday, we haven’t yet, because it would confuse our logging and the instruments that have been calibrated to a certain time. Our Captain decided to do it some time today now that we’re our on transit..."


Russell writes:

"A quieter day today gave us a chance to see what wildlife was about in this part of the ocean between Spain and Morocco. No whales or dolphins yet, but a good passage of migrant land birds took place this morning - these would have been migrating south across the Gulf of Cadiz to their wintering grounds in Africa. Conditions were good for their crossing (a light tailwind and sun with scattered light cloud). At least 700 birds were counted flying south in flocks of up to 100 birds. Skylarks appeared to be the dominant species, with a few pipits, wagtails and finches also recorded. Single Skylark, Starling and Black Redstart also touched down briefly on the ship for a rest early in the morning. Seabirds were surprisingly scarce, but included about 100 Gannets moving south.  

The scientific team is now in good spirits after the weekly opening of the onboard shop (called the Bond) allowed them all to stock up with chocolate. And despite being about 100 miles from land, Andrey managed to get a bird poo on his shoulder this afternoon...making him the luckiest or unluckiest person on the ship depending on your point of view!"

Left: Micha stocks up on chocolate!

The scientists gather around the monitors to see when the corer hits the seabed, and how many tonnes of pullout are needed to get it out of the mud. This one took four tonnes of pull on the ships’ winch!

Jez sets up the final corer in the first work area.

Once the cores are recovered and split open, Micha takes a photo record. This needs to be done before the cores are shipped home, as some sediments change colour shortly after they are exposed to air.

Left: Jez uses the spare day to get a haircut!

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October 2004
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