JC007: Drilling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge


Cruise diary

Day 17: Wednesday 21 March
Sampling area: Rock drill
Position at midnight: 13o35N, 44 o 41W


Michelle writes:

Today has been another eventful day starting with disappointment of the rock drill sites.  Two sites were chosen based on the bathymetry and the sonar data from TOBI, in both cases when the drill approached the seafloor it was sedimented and not bare outcrop as we had hoped.  The rock drill has been modified since it was last used and now has a live black and white video camera and a USBL (ultra short baseline line), this allows us to accurately locate the position of the drill in the water.   As a result we are on a steep learning curve as how to maximise the capabilities of these new features, hopefully future drill sites will be more successful. 

"Can we have some more core please?"

Night time deployment of the rock drill

Whilst retrieving the Rock Drill at 11:30GMT the crew noticed that the cable was not feeding onto the winch drum correctly, this delayed us whilst the team fed out the cable again and then hauled it in to try and get it to wrap correctly around the drum.  It is important that the cable is correctly aligned on the winch drum because the cable can become damaged, which could have impacts on our scientific operations.  Once the rock drill was back on board the deck crew decided that in order for operations to continue safely the cable would have to be paid out until the crossed cable on the drum was uncrossed, only then could the cable be re-wound correctly.  This delayed us by eight hours.  By midnight we were on our way to our TOBI survey area and preparing to re-deploy TOBI.

For some light relief today meet our Third Officer Rob and Chief Engineer Martin...


Name: Martin Holt
Hometown:  Bolton
Position: Chief Engineer
Favourite thing about your job: Going home
Least favourite thing about your job: Bad weather
Do you ever get seasick?  Never
Favourite place in the world:  Mauritius
Worst nightmare:  Bad weather
Three words to describe yourself: Tall, dark, and handsome!
Would be reincarnated as: The master of the ship.
Most interesting thing that ever happened at sea:  Seeing whales.
Why did the chicken cross the road?  No idea!
Favourite saying: “The taxi’s here!”

Name: Rob Clarke
Hometown:  Lowestoft
Position: Third Mate
Favourite thing about your job: Driving a boat (and all the travel)
Least favourite thing about your job: Being away from Shelly
Do you ever get seasick?  “Never—I’m too salty for that!”
Funniest thing you've heard in the last week:  That Pete Reynolds reckons Wales beat England in the Six Nations.
Favourite place:  Capetown, South Africa
Worst nightmare: Getting stuck in a lift with Tony and being forced into conversation about the good old days on the ice down in Deception Island
Three words to describe yourself:  Chief Officer Material
Would be reincarnated as: Someone who knows exactly what they want to be reincarnated as.
Most interesting thing that ever happened at sea:  Getting chased up and down cargo decks by containers in the North Sea.
Why did the chicken cross the road?  To rebalance his karma—the feng shui didn’t feel right on that side of the street.
Favourite saying: “That will ding dong do for me, flower.”

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February 2007