On Halloween afternoon, October 31, 2011, the Delaware II sailed from Woods Hole, Massachusetts to begin the late fall EcoMon (Ecosystem Monitoring) and CliVEC (Climate Variation East Coast) Survey. We left under sunny skies and moderate winds, conditions far different from those present on the weekend just prior to our departure! As is customary for this survey, we are working our way south first, to sample the Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic Bight areas, then we’ll loop back north to reach Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine. To add some festivity to our departure, one crewman donned his Halloween costume and went trick- or-treating on the vessel as we left the harbor!
We were able to only reach a few of the offshore Southern New England stations before large seas forced us to head inshore. Working closer along the coast in more moderate conditions allowed us to work our way south at a brisk pace, using all the sampling gear we have brought along, including our instrument-laden Niskin-bottle rosette, giving us profiles on water column temperatures, salinities, and chlorophyll , oxygen and light levels. These measurements confirmed that the water column closer to shore is well-mixed, not surprising for windy coastal autumn conditions.
The crew has been aided in their gear deployment by our new hydrographic winch on the back deck. Literally just “out of the box”, it has functioned flawlessly and has made the gear deployment and retrieval process much less suspenseful than it used to be in rough weather!
On Wednesday an engine problem with the safety boat carried aboard the vessel was discovered during a routine check. With this issue plus impending bad weather approaching, the Delaware II continued working its way south along the station trackline until it was able to put into the Navy base at Little Creek, Virginia on Thursday morning for repairs and shelter.
The crew and scientists are taking advantage of this lull in sea-going operations to catch up on ship maintenance and sample processing, but are hopeful that we’ll be able to sail on Monday, November 7, and continue working at sea again soon.