Setting sail

March 22, 2013

Today we set sail from Moss Landing Harbor at 0800 hrs. As we steamed to the first dive site, we had the boat and fire drill. In this drill, we were briefed by the crew of the R/V Western Flyer about safety procedures. Kat Bolstad, a collaborator from the Aukland University of Technology, practiced putting on an immersion suit. In this image, First Mate Andrew McKee explains that immersion suits are the most important safety item. They are buoyant and will keep a person warm in the event of an emergency where we have to abandon ship.

Kat Bolstad looking on (in her immersion suit) as Andrew McKee explains all the safety features.

Kat Bolstad looking on (in her immersion suit) as Andrew McKee explains all the safety features.

When we reached our first dive site within two hours of setting sail, ROV Doc Ricketts was deployed and we spent quite some time looking for the Midwater Respirometry System (MRS) mooring which had been deployed from the R/V Rachel Carson last month. Our mission for the dive was to capture the midwater shrimp, Sergestes similis, in the MRS and then deploy the MRS on the mooring. Once we found the mooring, we started hunting for Sergestes similis. Unfortunately, the wind started to pick up and we were forced to recover the ROV before we collected any animals.

Kim Reisenbichler, Henk-Jan Hoving, and Rob Sherlock deploy the trawl. Photo by Kat Bolstad.

Kim Reisenbichler, Henk-Jan Hoving, and Rob Sherlock deploy the trawl. Photo by Kat Bolstad.

Fortunately, when the weather is too rough for ROV operations, we can still collect specimens by trawling with a net. We deployed the net open, trawled for one hour at 400 meters (1,300 feet) depth and one hour at 200 meters (650 feet) depth. Then we sent a messenger down the line to close the net and recovered it closed.

Stephanie Bush carries the bin with the trawl specimens in it from the back deck to the wet lab. Photo by Kat Bolstad.

Stephanie Bush carries the bin with the trawl specimens in it from the back deck to the wet lab. Photo by Kat Bolstad.


Alicia Bitondo sorts through the trawl specimens looking for squid. Photo by Kat Bolstad.

Alicia Bitondo sorts through the trawl specimens looking for squid. Photo by Kat Bolstad.

We found some interesting squids, pteropods (pelagic snails), and amphipods and many of the scientists spent the evening processing their samples. Stephanie Bush was excited to find over 30 individuals of a pteropod, Clio pyramidata. She will use molecular techniques to study their population genetics.

The trawl was full of midwater animals like arrow worms, jellies, squid, and fish. Photo by Kat Bolstad.

The trawl was full of midwater animals like arrow worms, jellies, squid, and fish. Photo by Kat Bolstad.

—Susan von Thun