Cruise diary

Tuesday 22nd July 2003

Dave writes...

"Hello all. Er, I’ve not got that much to report today. Anticipation is building at the moment as we are about to reach the ridge. We are going to do a double swath (sonar sweep) perpendicular to the ridge axis so that we can precisely locate the spreading centre. Improvements have been made to the swathe by Geir (our sonar expert), so that the swath provides a much wider sweep with only a minor deterioration in resolution. Our proximity to the ridge will mean that we will be busy preparing all the instrumentation. Rex and Bram have been engaged in identifying possible dredge sites. I am looking forward to starting the dredging because there is a real buzz when it returns from the depths because we can see the products of our labour. I only hope that the weather holds off - if it deteriorates we will not be able to conduct dredges. We are in the monsoon season so the weather can change very quickly, and can get quite nasty.

Bram and Rex are the ship's walking wounded. Rex is zombiefied as he has not been sleeping, we have all been suggesting ways that he could get some sleep. Bram on the other hand has a ear infection, we have suggested concentrated hydrofluoric acid, but he didn’t seem too convinced.

On the personal side I have just received my first email from home, cos I couldn’t get it to work earlier in the week. It is really nice to hear from home and I am very much looking forward to getting an email from my girlfriend, Ruth.

Also if any of you chaps/esses want to ask us any questions about the cruise I will happily reply to them - just use the question form on the website!

The team in the main lab.
L-R: Andy, Sophie, Bram, Tim and Geir

Tina writes...

"This morning the watch was very quiet, except for three flying fish who came to an untimely end on board the back deck. Their wings were spread quite far out, mid-flight. I threw them back into the sea in the hope some shark might like an easy breakfast.

The weather is cloudy and warm today, with a threat of storms ahead and rougher seas...we are hoping our first dredge will go smoothly. I am going to practise configuring the MAPR, which will sniff out mantle plumes. We will also send down the CTD when we get to Waypoint4. First we will map the bathymetry (the depth profile) and then back up to take samples with the dredger.

After lunch, Geir, from Kongsberg Simrad A/S gave us a talk about the EM12 multibeam echo sounder, which will map out the ridge underneath us. We are almost at the ridge now, near Waypoint4, our first real dredging site. We have been seeing the small hills and valleys of the abyssal plains rippling out from the main ridge crest as we approach closer to the ridge itself.

I have asked the ship’s supplies man, Ray, to bake a birthday cake for Andy and Geraint on the 1st August. From what we have seen in the last few days, the galley is very good at baking chocolate cakes and biscuits. Every afternoon a platter of cakes appears in the Duty Mess, and people rush down to get the best ones.

I have started sleeping through lunch so I can stop myself gaining too much weight. I may have to sleep through breakfast too!"

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