Forgive me for the lack of blog posts over the past few days. Staring at a laptop screen for more than 5 minutes has not been easy. The seas have been rough. Prior to coming to this trip, several of my friends scoffed at the idea of a ‘research cruise’. The experience so far has certainly been far removed from a traditional cruise, so I’d like to aptly rename this ‘research cruise’ as a ‘research trawl’. I have a new-found respect for all those that work at sea.
Yesterday, we were exposed to winds of more than 30 knots (35mph / 55 kph) and ocean swells of more than 10 ft. Our ship was tossed and turned as the waves passed through. We were forced to secure and tie-down all objects in the lab; it was hard to stay in our seats without sliding from one side of the boat to the other. Unfortunately, during the rough seas, a handful of seismometer instruments, that were outside and secured to the deck, were damaged by waves. In total, 4 instruments were damaged, with two of them now with parts beyond repair. To put this damage into context, the total cost of an ocean-bottom seismometer is upwards of $32,000 (£20,000).
Nevertheless, our progress has been good and we are about to cross from the waters of Oregon to offshore California. By working through the night, often going out on the deck in the bad weather, we have just about managed to stay on schedule. So far, we have deployed 12 seismometers and recovered one.
On the plus side, the weather today has been wonderful, with much calmer winds. We had a pod of dolphins (specifically, the Pacific White-Sided variety) swimming around the ship for several hours today. We also made use of some slow sailing time to go fishing. We caught several Pacific Albacore that will make for a great meal.
Tomorrow, we make for port in Eureka, northern California. This will be a very quick stop to collect some more equipment for the next stage of the deployment. Check out the map below showing our current progress.
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Yellow circle = last recorded location
Green square = OBS station to deploy
Red square = OBS station to recover
Grey square = site completed