Winter cruises, and a healthy dose of optimism

Our window of opportunity for operations started closing late on Tuesday, November 9, as winds and seas started picking up. By Wednesday morning we were again relegated to doing only bongo tows and surface water sampling with our flow-through seawater system. By midday on Wednesday even putting bongo nets over the side was becoming difficult as the seas and winds continued rising. Accordingly our Commanding Officer,  Steve Wagner,  headed for the shores of Fire Island, N.Y., where the Delaware II anchored from late Wednesday afternoon until Friday morning while we waited for the worst of the storm to retreat to the east.

We used our time on Veterans Day for small chores that are a big deal in rough seas, such as refilling 20 liter carboys, changing ethanol on our plankton samples, and even trying to get a good night’s sleep. The sleeping was more of a challenge than I expected as we were rocked by large swells rolling in from the offshore storm activity, something everyone was glad we were missing!

Friday morning was bright, clear and brisk as the Delaware II made preparations to weigh anchor and return to sea. Operations Officer Fionna Matheson lowered our at-anchor day-shape, the deck crew hoisted the anchor, and the ship’s officers guided the vessel back onto our cruise track.

Lowday-shape indicated the ship is ancoredering the

Operations Officer Fionna Matheson lowered the day-shape that indicated we were anchored. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NOAA)

Crewman stows the anchor chain

Crewman Richard Logan stowing the anchor chain in the ship's chain locker. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NOAA)

Maintaing a lokkout on the bridge

Boatswain Adrian Martyn-Fisher maintains a lookout as we leave anchorage and head back to sea. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NOAA)

Scientist Robin Jolley hosing down a plankton net to obtain a sample. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NOAA)

Scientist processesing data in the lab.

Scientist Harvey Walsh processing data from one of the bongo tows. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NOAA)

As I am writing this at 1800 Eastern Standard Time we have already completed five stations and are working our way to the east behind the retreating storm into very large and very slowly diminishing seas. We are hoping they’ll diminish enough by tomorrow to allow deployment of our Niskin bottle rosette.  A healthy dose of optimism is always needed for these winter cruises!

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist

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