Gulf of Maine Here We Come!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Good Evening Everyone,

Tonight we are now approaching our last station on Georges Bank after which we’ll be working exclusively in the Gulf of Maine area of this survey.

The weather, as predicted, did turn windy yesterday (Monday) morning and caused some problems with sampling in the shoal areas of Georges Bank.  However we were able to keep working at a slower pace and have now completed thirty four stations for the cruise so far.  The wind and seas have come down today, and we’ve been able to resume full speed between stations, which will come in handy for the longer transits we are facing in the Gulf of Maine.  We did have to forgo further testing of the Dave Richardson modified sand lance rake; its spiky collecting tines were too dangerous for deployment under rough sea conditions.

squid

Squid (21 mm long) captured on northern edge of Georges Bank in a bongo net. Photo by Dan Vendettuoli, NEFSC/NOAA

Plankton catches continue to be light, but we have spotted some fish larvae that could be either sand lance or herring in some of our tows from the shoals of the northwest corner of Georges Bank, and our last tow on the northern flank of Georges Bank yielded some fish eggs.  We also caught a 21 mm cephalopod or squid which Dan Vendettuoli photographed.

deck grating

Deck grating on the working deck of Gordon Gunter makes it easier to work in icy conditions. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

deck work

High railing on the Gordon Gunter work area keeps us safely onboard even in rough weather. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

Life aboard the Gordon Gunter has been surprisingly comfortable despite the cold weather.  The working deck is covered by a grating that water flows through rather than pooling on so it is much safer to work on under icy conditions.  The ship rides the seas well, and the working deck has a very high railing, which makes us feel more secure as we are deploying gear in rough weather.  Paul Acob and Chief Steward Margaret Coyle have been keeping us well fed.

baking pie

Chief Steward Margaret Coyle working on a pie crust for our evening meal. No one is going hungry on this cruise! Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

The command and crew have been working closely with us to help maximize our coverage during the limited days that we have out here.  The weather has even been helping: our latest forecast indicates a high pressure cell will be sitting over this area for a couple of days, allowing us to have a good start to sampling in the eastern Gulf of Maine near Nova Scotia.  We should be as far east as the Northeast Channel by early Wednesday morning.  From there we’ll head north and then start working back towards home for our Sunday return to Rhode Island.

Jerry Prezioso
Chief scientist
GU1401 Winter EcoMon Survey

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