Thursday 24 June 2010

Well only 5 days to go before we have to end science on this ECOMAR cruise and head for Vigo. However, just as we were getting into these last few days of work the weather once again reminded us who was in charge. So our plans to complete a 30 hour ISIS ROV dive to survey the seabead slopes and terraces of this South East mid Atlantic ridge site were put on hold. Although the weather was freshening it was still Ok to use the Megacorer. The Megacorer is deployed on a wire from the ship and takes a number of sediment corers from the sea floor. Once on deck these cores are sectioned and sieved to look for animals living in the sediment. The Megacorer is a robust piece of gear and is always the sampling instrument we turn too if the weather gets a bit marginal for other work. So with nothing else to do and the need for 3 Megacorers at this final site we set off to do three in a row.

Now that sounds easy but in reality it is  very difficult for the guys involved in processing the sediment. They have to go out on the aft deck and spend 2 to 3 hours in increasing winds and ship role to sieve and process the sediment.  Brrrr! So after the second Megagcorer in trepidation I headed out to the aft to see how the troops were doing. I needn’t have worried all the guys we working hard and still cheerful … amazing dedication, well done guys!

Grant, Debbie, Mark and Helena still smiling after processing two Megacorer drops

In the end the weather kept getting worse and we could not do the third Megacorer, a relief for the processing team, but a worry as this storm was predicted to carry on for 36 hours and we have only limited time left.

Phil Bagley

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