JC010: Mud volcanoes and submarine canyons


Cruise diary

Day 8: Saturday 9 June 2007
Position: 39º 29’ 799 N, 9º 56’ 031 W - Nazare Canyon, 3533m water depth
Weather: Sunny and calm

Helen writes:

"I got up at 3am to see the megacore come up; I took some video footage and then, because I was no longer needed, went back to bed. After an hour, I was woken up as the ROV was being deployed during my watch. She was heading down to a different point in the Nazaré canyon, this time down to a depth of 3400m. Following an elevator that had been sent down containing two experiments (one for Sarah, investigating the respiration of starfish, and another for Theresa, investigating sea cucumbers).

There was some initial confusion as all the depth readings we had suggested that we were at a depth of over 4000m. There was great concern that we were in the wrong place, and Sarah rushed to wake Veerle who had plotted the day’s way points. After a few minutes it was discovered that the equipment was mis-reading and that in fact we were in the right spot after all - Leighton (see his interview here) fixed the equipment, and we were on our way!

After breakfast I headed back to bed, as I had trouble sleeping last night. After a phone call from my Mum to update me on everything in the UK, there was a call to see whales on the bow, port side. I decided that I was so tired, that I would not go and I fell asleep, only to be woken a few minutes later by a fire alarm! To say I panicked is a little extreme; however, I jumped out of bed, put a pair of trousers on (back to front!) and then realised that it wasn’t the general alarm sounding, but the fire alarm. On this ship, when the fire alarm rings we are to take no initial action but to ready ourselves for the sounding of the general alarm which is a call to muster. So, I decided to go back to bed, and the fire alarm was declared a false alarm.  As you can see, my idea of a few hours rest has not gone well!

I spent the rest of the day planning and then creating some resources to do with the use of moments (the turning effect of forces) on ships. As today is Saturday, we received clean sheets & pillowcase, I decided to take the opportunity to Hoover my cabin and clean our shower room as the Captain does his weekly inspection on a Saturday, checking the cleanliness of communal areas, the galley, stores and cabins.

At 4pm it was back into the ROV van for Colin, Sarah and me. The ROV filmed some amazing geological features this afternoon, and we saw the canyon floor and walls in amazing detail before beginning another session of swath bathymetry, plotting detailed maps of the canyon layout. So, yet again I write this before going to bed, today I have had the privilege of using the PC up on the bridge, so I’ve been able to watch the sun set and it’s now almost dark..."


ROV taking push cores...

...which is not as easy as it looks!


Virginia writes:

"Last night R.R.S. James Cook moved from the 4300 m site to the 3400 m site. Before James Cook changed to the new position, Chief Scientist Doug called the scientists team to a meeting in the library, at about 7 pm. He coordinated and planned the scientists work for the incoming days. He agreed with the scientists team how many push cores, megacores, box cores, will be necessary for Andy, Abi, Kostas, Silvia, Teresa and Ursula. CTD data also will be collected (for Kostas). Andy wants three push cores and one megacore to pick living foraminifera and other microrganisms.Teresa wants about 10 sea curcumbers for her experiment (click here for more about Teresa). We also plan to do a number of video transects.

Science meeting in the library

Last night the ROV was brought up onto the James Cook deck at about 10 p.m. A megacore was collected at this site about 3 a.m. The elevators were put on the sea floor with Teresa´s equipment and Sarah´s respiration chambers. I am going show the equipment that Teresa will use in her experiments.

The ROV entered again into the sea at about 5 a.m. to collect sea curcumbers for Teresa experiments and an animal to put in Sarah´s chambers. I watched about 10.00 a.m. and during about 10 minutes the ROV scooped up 3 sea cucumbers into an incubation chamber for Teresa's experiments.

The ROV will be recovered from this site on Sunday afternoon and will go to the other site where Ursula's experiment is underway, and the chambers will be brought back to the surface. We will have time to get another megacore, new push cores and box cores in this site. Ursula wants six cores near her experiment to compare the results.

In parallel with the very intense scientific work also runs a very interest social life on board.

Today I talked with Dean Hurren, the Electro Technical Officer (click here to read his interview). His history in the last few years  is related with the James Cook history. I agree entirety with his opinion about the enjoyable social life on board!"

Teresa's experiment equipment on the deck, ready to go!

Teresa and Silvia carry out some final checks

The ROV uses its scoop to pick up holothurians and transfer them into Teresa's equipment

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