The Delaware II has made remarkable progress in the Gulf of Maine since our last update. Given some all-too-brief windows of opportunity we have traveled from the Northeast Channel up to the Bay of Fundy, then west and back south again into the central Gulf of Maine, making stops at Georges and Jordan Basins along the way. The Bay of Fundy greeted us with a wallop, as a fast moving storm hit the vessel with 30-40 knot winds and huge waves that were gone twelve hours later, replaced by a gorgeous sunset.
After a dismal forecast predicted strong winds for Saturday, we headed inshore to the western Gulf of Maine to continue working in an area sheltered from gale force winds. Sunday, the day before the end of this cruise, turned out to have light winds, and given this opportunity we snagged samples from a couple of stations on Georges Bank before turning west for home.
Our plankton tows from the deep Gulf of Maine stations have consisted largely of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, a deep red from the oil stored in their bodies, along with a few euphausiids by day and greater numbers of them at night. We’ve seen very few fish larvae in these tows. Fortunately we’ve been able to undertake plankton sampling at all our stations since our gear is so rugged. Our colleagues from NASA and ODU have resorted to getting water from the flow through seawater system when it was too rough to deploy the rosette sampler. Even our bird and marine mammal observer, Mike Sylvia, continued his observations from the bridge when it was too dangerous to be outside. Sunday however has given us enough relief from the weather to deploy the rosette sampler and for our bird observer to return to his usual observation post, outside on the flying bridge.
Since the Delaware II is docking in Woods Hole early on Monday morning, this will be the last update from this leg of the November EcoMon cruise. We’ll resume communicating about our work, along with photographs, on the next leg, which is going out the week after Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!