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February 22rd, 2003: Leg 1, Day #4

Translation provided by the Stevenson School (Carmel, California) Seventh Grade Spanish Class (with a little help from their teacher and some interpretation by G.I. Matsumoto).

These three paragraphs are written as acts of a play, with the play being what happens during a typical sampling station during this cruise. Each paragraph is written by a different person.

Back to February 22.

We continue our studies of the California Undercurrent. The scene has changed a lot: in good weather, happy faces. The sampling is much calmer, and the dance of the rosette (the one that we use to collect water), that had movements that were clumsy and out-of-step in the northern latitudes, has, with southern breezes, changed to a slower rhythm. The show begins with Mike B. and Darrell bringing the CTD to the scene, soaked from the Pacific and the continuation of the dance begins. First it is the measurement of total organic carbon from the samples followed by Gernot, who, with his tygon tubing extracts a sound level from the CTD bottles while taking the oxygen samples. The sound is intensified with the sampling of the total inorganic carbon. Much later, and almost without announcing his entrance, Tarry Rago appears on the scene with the bottles of salinity. And suddenly as in tutti orquestale, Tim, Roman, Josh P., and Jose appear, and the scene fills with the “click” of the nutrient bottles, with the “click, click” of those of chlorophyll, and the “poof” of those of organic carbon particles; all trying to compete with the surge of the Pacific. The first act finishes with a synchronized splash in each CTD bottle, caused by Mike B., and the scene will now be empty, with the Pacific-like backdrop curtain. [by Carmen]

The second act begins once our previous actors have taken the samples inside the Western Flyer to the wet laboratory. As if we were a colony of ants, everyone to his/her task: Carmen and Gernot are like the soldier ants, stoic and unlikely to fight in each station. All of the many samples need to be processed for oxygen determination, organic carbon, and total inorganic carbon. The worker ants (Francisco, Tim, Roman, Tarry, and Jose) are busy at the filtrations and have multiplied after the initial clumsy and out-of-step movements of previous days. With us are bottles of water, each destined for a filter that will inevitably be frozen. First the GFF (glass fiber filters) filters for chlorophyll, while one of us fights with the ATP and the samples for FCM. Next come the samples for HPLC and the divided samples of superficial chlorophyll, and after that the samples are saved for POC analysis. To the shout of “the samples are ready for nutrients in the freezer”, we check the list at the same time that we begin to prepare for the next sampling station: replacing filters in the filtration towers and labeling the vials. [by Jose Eduardo]

Our mission begins at the end of the station sampling. We are the zooplankton group and our work consists of using the Tucker Trawl nets with three different mesh sizes. We will try and obtain zooplankton biological data of the California Undercurrent to compare with the data from other currents. For sampling the first 150 meters, we use the 202 micron mesh in the cod end (the capture cup of the trawl net); for 150-300 meters, we use the 303 micron mesh and for depths greater than 300 meters, we use the 505 micron mesh. Once we have obtained the samples, we place the organisms in bottles and preserve them in 10% formalin for later identification and quantification of their abundance. [by Cesar]