Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 7) finds us docked in Portland Harbor, Maine. We are here to exchange one of the crew members for medical reasons. Sampling operations for the Georges Bank area were completed on Sunday, with the exception of three ecosystem monitoring stations on the northern edge and one rosette station where it was too rough.
Weather has been an issue for much of this trip, and has slowed our progress considerably. We were elated to have a break from these conditions on Sunday, as seas subsided enough for safe deployment of the Niskin bottle rosette before dawn on Monday morning. Chris Taylor collected our first dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity samples of the cruise and demonstrated the protocol for preservation of these samples.
Our elation faded quickly as a fast moving front came through, whipping seas back up to the point where by 0900 we we unable to deploy the rosette at the next fixed station position, and within just another hour made bongo operations untenable. We moved slowly to the northwest to pick up stations away from the frontal area and closer to Portland as plans were made for a personnel transfer. Work resumed on Monday night in the central western Gulf of Maine as conditions improved and now on Tuesday afternoon we have stopped operations and are waiting for the new crew member to arrive at 1700.
Plankton catches have continued to be light. Harvey Walsh picked some herring larvae from stations located in the central area of Georges Bank, which he preserved in 95% ethanol. We have also collected five samples for the Census of Marine Zooplankton Program from Georges Bank and one from the Gulf of Maine. Our bird observers have had regular sightings of dovekies, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes and common murres.
We are planning on leaving Portland after the replacement crew person comes aboard. From there we’ll resume our northern route in reverse, so as to proceed around the Gulf of Maine sampling stations in a clockwise direction.
Luckily for us the vessel was within range of a channel carrying the Sunday Super Bowl game, so we had an opportunity to watch it as John Rockwell our Chief Steward put out pizza, chicken wings, home-made salsa, a home-made cheese dip, a home-baked cake, and cooked up home-made venison sausages from our Chief Engineer, Brian Murphy. Even though the Patriots lost, the game and food were enjoyed by all on board!
Ecosystems Monitoring Survey