Saturday night (August 31) finds the Okeanos Explorer in the northeastern Gulf of Maine, heading for the Bay of Fundy and the northernmost part of our cruise track. Some weather on Thursday slowed us down a bit, so we are not as far along as I had hoped to be by this time, but we have been able to continue working steadily, including doing some multi-beam bottom mapping of the Jordan Basin. Mashkoor Malik, our mapping specialist from the Office of Ocean Exploration (OER), laid out some transit lines for us to navigate and used the acoustic systems of this vessel to reveal an interesting and complex bottom topography in the Jordan Basin area, with some features rising twenty to thirty meters above the seafloor.
We completed our plankton tows on the northern part of Georges Bank on Thursday morning. The salps that had so dominated our plankton tows on the southern part of Georges Bank continued to do so on the northern part and even at the proximal Gulf of Maine stations. There was a shift to a more copepod-dominated community as we headed further north however.
We found and photographed an interesting three centimeter squid in our plankton sample from a station 40 nautical miles southeast of Jordan Basin. The flash from the camera revealed an interesting pattern of what appear to be photophores on the squid’s head, and encircling its eyes. I’ll be sure to include this photo in the NEFSC Field Science blog that Shelley Dawicki has been maintaining for this cruise at https://nefsc.wordpress.com/
By Sunday morning we expect to be at our northernmost station for this cruise, at the entrance to the Bay of Fundy. We are planning some Isaacs Kidd midwater trawls there to hopefully capture some specimens of fish that puffins from a nearby breeding colony are feeding on, and feeding to their young. There will also be a second round of bottom mapping along the Schoodic Ridge-line.
We’ve been listening to our fog horn continuously today, but despite the fog the spirit and morale of those on board here have not been dampened. The crew put on a wonderful cookout for us today on the aft deck, and kept alive the American tradition of holiday weekend grilling!
I wish you all a happy and fog-free Labor Day weekend!