Cruise diary

Thursday 31st July 2003


Dave writes...

"Hello everybody. I’m back! Sorry about yesterday, but if they will make me get up at 4 every morning then what do they expect? I really did think that my shift had ended - I blame it on a long conversation with Tina that seemed to drag for hours. Hehe. They couldn’t have missed me that much as it took them 2 hours to find me… the ship isn’t that big. Also, sleeping is not a syndrome, it is a natural response to sleep deprivation, so ner.

Yesterday was all fun and games; the science team was locked in Heart’s Battle. The card game is fiercely contested with pride going to the victor (Tim) and humiliation going to the loser (with a capital L) which was incidentally Andy. Sophie had been in the tropical sun for a little to long so was a little burnt she proceeded to cover herself in all kinds of potions and lotions to minimise her discomfort.

The dredge was brought up from the depths just as I arrived back on shift from my slumber. The 3 tonne link had gone but the 7 tonne link had not. In the basket we had an abundant amount of basalts ranging from very fresh to a bit manky, and lots of glass. The not so fresh basalt is thought to have been derived from the axial shoulders (bounding cliffs) whereas the fresh stuff probably came from near the spreading axis itself. All in all it was a good haul. The dredge was our penultimate dredge before hightailing it back to the Seychelles for some CTD work and some well-deserved R and R.

The only bonus about working the night shift is the access to the pot noodles. Now I don’t usually like noodles especially the potted variety, however at 5 in the morning you just can’t resist that 'nutritious' and delicious flavour. In reality pot noodles are really rich in kaolinite which is a type of clay mineralised to bulk out the noodles, but it cannot be digested. The kaolinite passes through your gut and into your faeces. Kaolinite is also a major constituent of bricks. I’ll let you work it out...

Above: Dave - like a coiled spring on the dogwatch


It is the last day of dredging today (not quite matey……. chief sci.). So from here on in the cruise will be more relaxed. Sweet. The lack of dredging will have the knock on effect of having less to write for the web page. Oh well.

It is traditional to get a cruise shirt to commemorate the cruise and all of it’s sacrifices. At the moment we are trying to decide on the design for such a piece of haute couture; I should imagine there will be a contest toward the end of the cruise to decide on the best design. My personal favourite is a picture of a can of Carlsberg with "Carlsberg - probably the best mid ocean ridge in the world". I know it is a bit rubbish but I was never that creative except for with the truth. Anyway if you have any good ideas you know our address.

Oh happy days! I have been informed that when the current dredge is in and the rocks labelled and bagged then the science team will be moved form doing night shifts onto the day shift. That has made my week. Drinks tonight methinks. I will now be able to report how my tan is coming along and other such frivolities. Excellent..."




Tina writes...

"It’s 3.30am, and we are watching the dredge come in. Rex is hoping to find basalt, if the structures beneath us are as expected.

The atmosphere on board ship is generally more relaxed now most of the work is behind us, and we know that we will start steaming back to the Seychelles tomorrow. This means everyone will have a few quiet days to rest and recover, before a couple more days of dredging and CTD work at waypoints near to Mahe Island. Also we have two birthdays this weekend (Andy on the 1st, and Geraint on the 2nd). So the galley (Ray, John, Pete and Andy) have arranged a buffet party in the Officers’ Bar, and a birthday cake. The celebrations take place tomorrow (Friday) from 7pm. Andy’s not really a birthday person, but he has agreed to lend us the excuse for a party.

The 4-8am watch (us) were a bit keen (even Dave woke up for it) and so we doubled up the previous watch to help bring in the catch of the day. Rex and Bram were hoping to find evidence of axial volcanic ridge structures (AVRs), where there is volcanic activity central to a rift valley. This was dredged using the bathymetry to fly the dredge directly down the valley slope, then tuck it over the summit of the volcano and up the other side of the valley. The results were in keeping with the theory, bringing rocks of the various types and ages from the different segments along the AVR. Everyone’s happy!

Now we are steaming on a 10 hour trip to the next waypoint (20) before we head back to Seychellois seas.

Geraint: doesn’t like having his pic taken but can’t
move until his first cup of coffee.

Judge Dredge: 12-4 shift ( l-r Andy, Stu and Rob).


Today was a bit sad..being the last day of regular dredging. The final northerly waypoint was a classic dredge. Rex and Bram oversaw the procedure jointly, pushing the limits to get the most out of the site. It was a nail-biting thing to watch as they flew the dredge into the most promising bits of seafloor. This took four hours (about four nautical miles), and there were two high tension points (7 Tonnes and 7.2 Tonnes) that could have indicated the weak link had gone. So adrenalin was pumping when the dredge finally came up from the gloomy deep (some of us were not sure it was still attached!.. Fortunately, not only was it still attached, the dredge was full of interesting rocks. Unfortunately, whilst landing it on deck, a large green wave swamped the 4-8 shift (including Rex and Robin who were also aft), carrying off some of the haul. Sensibly, no-one dived after the swimming rocks, and there were plenty remaining to describe the geology of the waypoint.

Above: This is the map that the EM12 provides by swathing the seafloor,
mapping the lovely structures so we can dredge accurately
(note little volcano in middle of rift valley)

After dinner, some of the team retired to the Officers’ Bar for informal celebrations. The big party is Friday night (for Andy & Geraint’s birthdays), which marks the start of the end of the cruise. We will be steaming for almost 3 days, towards an interesting seamount (a possible hotspot) on the way back to Mahe Island..."Fortunately, not only was it still attached, the dredge was full of interesting rocks. Unfortunately, whilst landing it on deck, a large green wave swamped the 4-8 shift (including Rex and Robin who were also aft), carrying off some of the haul. Sensibly, no-one dived after the swimming rocks, and there were plenty remaining to describe the geology of the waypoint..."



Cruise diary calendar

Click on a date to read the diary

July/August 2003
M T W T F S S
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10



© CDSP 2003