Monday, 12 October 2015

Bruised and battered...

Today we are recovering from a lot of abuse! The night before last we got high swell, about 5 m, not the worst, apparently northwest from us it was 15 m, so you could say we were lucky. It started in the middle of the night, we were all awakened at about 5:30 am by being tossed around our bank beds! I tried to stay in it and carry on sleeping but it was impossible. I decided to stay in bed because walking would have been quite difficult. Eventually I got up, had a very weird shower, that took twice the time that it normally should take and then tried to get dressed. My old supervisor used to say at times like this throw all your clothes on the floor and get dressed sitting down. Didn't throw them on the floor, threw them on my bed and got dressed sitted the whole time. Then I ventured out of my cabin, it was like a ghost ship, couldn't find anyone, I decided to find a way to go outside but the doors had been shut, so I went to the Bridge and the Officer told me to go to the top deck, that it would make me feel better. It did indeed, because the sun had come out, the wind had died down mostly but the roll was insane! 15-16 degrees from the horizontal from side to side. It feels much worse when you're inside! Everyone I bumped into looked like a zombie. We got so tired just by trying to stay upright and protect ourselves from bumping into things! That was abuse, the ship abused us all! We all needed to sleep, I skipped breakfast because I couldn't get up, I skipped lunch because I preferred to sleep!

This is how it started the afternoon before.

This happened while we were transiting to a deeper-water location, several kilometres south of where we've been so far. On the way we were taking a seismic profile and mapping with the multibeam. but the weather seemed to have an adverse effect on our data collection as well. One of the cables for the seismic acquisition showed a fault, seems to have broken somewhere in its 80 m length and there is no way of knowing exactly where. So we've been doing some mapping since yesterday, which is ok we need that too, and in the meantime Heiko, the technician is making a new cable! Apparently it's easier to construct a new one than try to find the fault in the 80 m one, then he can spend as much time as he needs on that one. 
The weather today is amazing! It's like summer and even the sea temperature is 21 degrees! We'd be able to swim in this water - if we were allowed, but we're not, it's too dangerous! How can it change so fast? OK we are further south, we're in the Gulf Stream, which explains the sea surface temperatures, but apparently this area is well-known for how quickly the weather changes. One day we're wearing all the jumpers we own, the next we don't have enough sun-block! So today everyone is much happier and chirpier, yesterday we all needed some proper sleep.
We are now operating at 4,500 m water depth, so do the math, if the box corer winch lowers the box corer with 0.8 m/sec speed how long does it take to get a box core? That's right about 3hrs! And then we'll send the gravity corer down, but the winch for that is faster at 1.5 m/sec that will only take 2 hrs. That gives you a little perspective, we can't waste our time "trying" things, we need to be careful with our decision-making. 
I realised a couple of days ago that we must be very close to the Titanic's resting place, so I looked it up and there it is, the red circle. The white box is our working area, we are indeed very close... it just made me think about it...

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