Juan de Fuca Ridge Cruise
July 20 - August 1, 2000
Over 650 km (~400 miles) off the Washington-Oregon Coast
July 17: Precruise
Monday, July 17, 2000: Thomas and Greg left Eugene, picked up a rental car in Corvallis, and arrived at the University of Oregon’s Hatfield Marine Center, where the Western Flyer was docked, at 10:43 am The scientists returning from the Hydrate Ridge cruise excitedly told stories about a successful cruise. They had managed to free a methane hydrate from the ocean sediment, and followed up the water column in the "bubble-box" with the ROV Tiburon, at a speed very close to its natural ascent rate. As the hydrate rose, the sediment gradually fell off, exposing a beautiful transparent structure within which the crystal structure could be seen.
We unloaded the gear from the truck, and a fork-lift lifted the coring sled out of the truck. At about 1 pm, a large crane arrived to do the heavy lifting: putting the sled onto the Western Flyer. The sled was lifted up and over the Flyer, and lowered down through the roof in the moon pool. Once inside, the ship’s smaller crane (the one that launches the ROV) moved the sled into position next to the ROV, which still had the tool sled from the Hydrate Ridge Cruise attached. They disconnected the tool sled, and lifted Tiburon off, lowering it onto the rock coring sled. After being secured to the new sled, the engineers and crew began connecting the two, readying them for pre-cruise testing. The last of the gear from the previous cruise was unloaded as we finished loading ours.