Celebrating the Olympics at Sea

On Wednesday morning, August 15, the Henry Bigelow has reached the Great South Channel and is poised to be on Georges Bank early this afternoon.  We have now completed seventy nine stations, including a half dozen tows with our Isaacs Kidd midwater trawl.  The last of these tows caught large numbers of flounder larvae at station 19-1 SNE which is located 63 nautical miles south of Block Island,  Rhode Island.  Subsequent tows made since then with our bongo nets have had a variety of small unidentified fish larvae in them.  As we neared Nantucket Shoals the catches have been dominated by increasing numbers of chaetognaths (arrow worms) and gammarid amphipods to the point where they obscure everything else in the sample.  The gammarid amphipods are also extremely difficult to wash out of the nets! Our last tow made in the vicinity of the Great South Channel had fewer of these fortunately, and a large number and variety of fish larvae in it.

man with instrument

NASA scientist Mike Novak holding a hand-deployed radiometer for measuring light penetration from the surface and sub-surface backscatter. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

We are continuing with our NASA-related light measurements and yesterday at noon took the opportunity of clear sky conditions and calm seas to test a second radiometer, a smaller red and black unit dubbed “Robin” in keeping with the “Batman” designation of the larger unit that we have been using daily.  The smaller radiometer proved more cumbersome to use as it requires adjustments to be made to the angle of its light sensors depending on sea-conditions encountered during deployment.

shi[p instrument

Radiometers mounted on the flying bridge of the Henry Bigelow provide light measurements for comparison with the submersible radiometers. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

As a result we will continue using the larger unit and possibly do only one other comparison test.  The big issue for us at the moment is time.  With nine working days remaining in our schedule we are at the midpoint for time but still not at the mid-point of our cruise track, and are forced to prioritize missions in order to best accomplish our multiple objectives.

icecream social

Chief survey tech Jim Burkitt, Commanding Officer Kurt Zegowitz and Electronics tech Billy Dowdell cue up at the ice cream bar on Ice Cream Social and Bingo Night aboard the Henry Bigelow. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

The weather has been wonderfully calm and sunny and we have a good forecast for the next few days which is always encouraging when you are about to head out onto Georges Bank!  After nine days at sea the ship, our sampling gear and all personnel are still running well and getting along wonderfully!  One CTD unit (measures temperature, salinity and depth) used with our bongo nets had a switch failure, but was promptly swapped out with a spare unit by Jim Burkitt, the Chief Survey Technician, with no further issues since then.  We’ve also had an ice-cream social and bingo night organized by our stewards, Dennis Carey and Jeremy Howard, commemorating the end of the Olympics and demonstrating that going to sea does not have to be dull!

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
EcoMon/CliVEC Survey HB 12-05

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