Transit day one

August 10, 2013

We left the dock in Eureka, California, at 7:00 a.m. this morning and are steaming toward the northwest for almost 750 kilometers to Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca mid-ocean ridge. We anticipate that if the calm weather holds, we’ll arrive Monday morning. First things first, as on every one of our cruises, the science party had a safety briefing and the ship’s crew carried out a series of safety drills.

— Jenny Paduan

leaving Eurkeka port

Leaving port this morning. The fog hovers low over Eureka as the sun rises beyond.

Our first day at sea already draws to an end. We are steaming ahead at about nine knots, confident to make good time to Axial Seamount as the weather is really calm. During the ship’s drill, the science party was assigned the difficult and important task to stay out of the crew’s way. Our own security briefing culminated in the rehearsal of putting on the survival suits we all have in our cabins, and along the way we learned that this does not go by the “one-size-fits-all rule”. Most of the preparations for the upcoming remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives are already finished, core catchers are installed, lab utensils are stowed away, and the walls of the dry lab are draped in colorful maps of our working area.

I learned today that the best recipe for a sticky wax for a wax corer is a concoction of surf board wax and vaseline at a secret ratio. Let’s see how well we will do with it! By wax coring, I mean slamming a really heavy metal stamp armed with wax-filled steel buds onto the ocean floor. Upon the impact of the probe, small bits of volcanic glass rinds will be chipped off and stick to the wax for recovery.

The food on this cruise is exceptional and we were lucky to have departed Eureka at what seems to be the height of the salmon season. We hope to make it to Axial Seamount in time to have a first dive Monday.

Sarah Glancy in survival suit

Sarah Glancy models her survival suit during the safety briefing.

drill fire fighter

Olin Jordan models his firefighting suit. The drill was that there was a fire in the ROV control room.

man overboard drill

The “rescuers” return to the ship during the “man overboard” drill.

— Tom Kwasnitschka