Cruise Completed: 169 stations in 18 days at sea

This will be my last update for this cruise since we are due to dock at the Newport Naval Station in Rhode Island this afternoon.  At the moment, Friday morning, 24 August, we are transiting the Cape Cod Canal, affording us an opportunity to clean up and pack up a mountain of gear which has been brought aboard by the three groups that have shared this cruise:  NOAA, NASA and Old Dominion University (ODU).  The last group, ODU, has been conducting primary productivity analyses in outdoor tubs, shaded to represent the light levels at varying depths of the water column.   These are mounted out on the stern deck of the Henry Bigelow, and at four feet by four feet, represent some of the more cumbersome gear that will have to be offloaded.

ODU graduate student Brittany Widner removing samples from the incubators mounted on the stern deck of the Henry Bigelow. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

We have completed our entire cruise track including the most northern ones near the Bay of Fundy that are frequently missed when we are pressed for time.  One hundred and sixty nine stations have been completed in our eighteen days at sea, which may be a record for our group!  Only three outlying stations, one to the south, east and west were trimmed as we played the game of how best to utilize our scheduled time to accomplish as much as possible.  This remarkable productivity comes from a variety of factors, with the excellent weather certainly playing a large part, having allowed us to work during every day of the trip.

Juvenile butterfish (top) and mackerel (bottom) caught in bongo net samples from the Gulf of Maine. The butterfish is 30 mm (  inches) long and the mackerel is 50 mm ( inches) long. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

A bigger part however was the way everyone on board worked to accomplish our common goals.  Scientists from the different groups coordinated their sometimes divergent needs to allow everyone to get the most data from this cruise.  The crew, some of them old friends and some new ones that I’ve met for the first time, all pitched in to get our gear deployed and retrieved safely time and again at all hours.  Other crew members, such as engineering, and electronics, were right there to fix things when any problems arose, and the food from our stewards was unbelievably good!  The command was very supportive, with ideas on improving our track-lines to shave time from our transits.

Students work on deck

Two students (wearing hardhats), Sammi Ocher from Northeastern on the left, and Mac Hoggan from UMass Amherst on the right, did extra duties on this cruise, including washing nets and deploying gear. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

We left a bit short-handed on this trip, due to some personnel that were unable to come at the last minute.  However the vessel’s survey technicians Jim Burkitt and Amanda Andrews pitched in to help out on the science side, while a student intern, Mac Hoggan filled in as a deck-hand on the midnight to noon watch in addition to his science duties.  Even one of the bird watchers, Northeastern student Sammi Ocher, left the flying bridge to come and wash plankton nets and preserve samples when we were backed up.  Finally, Betsy Broughton, from our Oceanography Branch, was kind enough to sign up at the last minute to help fill out the science roster.  She also identified larval and juvenile fish much more reliably than I could!

To all of these remarkable people, I say thank you!  It was truly a pleasure sailing with you.

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

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