January 31, 2004
Captain George Silva with the yellowfin tuna caught this evening.
Al DaLomba in the R/V Atlantis' galley. Al and the Steward, Carl Wood, and Linda Bartholomee, the Mess Attendant, do an outstanding job of feeding us delicious food every day.
Another day cruising the eastern Pacific under sunny blue skies, on flat seas, as we approach the study area. The ship will probably arrive at the EPR near 9 50'N Monday night. This morning we had a later than usual start, after a change of time that took away 1 hour of sleep (because we are traveling east - we are now in US Mountain Time Zone); we are now 2 hours behind the East Coast, 6 hours behind Southampton UK, 7 behind Edinburgh, and 8 behind Paris. It is also apparent, after close inspection of the scientists' behavior, that they have developed some kind of strange allergy to sun and wind, as they appear to spend most of their time sitting in the laboratories, attached to their computers and instruments.
Rhian Waller and Ian Ridley fine-tune the coating of the wax core balls in the Rock Lab. The Towcam (right) being hoisted from it's test lowering yesterday.
One of the tasks carried out has been the development of a new, sophisticated and high-tech release device for the wax coated balls that will recover shards of basalt from the seafloor; the coiling of the tethers to the balls only worked in 4 of the 8 rock samplers during yesterday's test run of the Rabbit Cam - so some further refinement is needed.
Pat Hickey testing for oxygen leaks with Bill Seyfried trying on the Alvin emergency oxygen masks
After lunch, we gathered in the library to begin the Alvin briefings. First we had to weigh ourselves... in public; which embarassed some of us as pounds seem to have accumumated at a fast rate after just a few days at sea. After this weighing session we expect an increase in the use of the exercise machines onboard (the treadmill or hamster machine, the bicycle, the rowing machine, and the weights).
Pat Hickey- the Expedition Leader gave us an explanation of the oxygen system inside Alvin, which has life support of up to 3 days. We each tested the emergency oxygen masks, to learn how to put them on properly and without oxygen leaks between the mask and the face. This gave all of us 'Darth Vader' look. It is also clear that Ryan will have to shave before going down in Alvin, as he managed to have two consecutive leaks.
We held a meeting to determine the sites for the first Alvin dives and camera surveys. After a long discussion we have chosen four sites in the 9 50'N area, and tomorrow we’ll make a final decision after studying the data from previous cruises. Now it is time to plot maps and charts and look at data so as to optimize the choice of sites, the tracks and areas to be studied, and the succession of scientific operations.
In the meantime, the expresso machine in the Main Lab is going to smash the world record of cappuccinos per hour. At this rythm, we could exhaust our coffee supplies which would lead to a catastrophic situation.
Antoine Page, Wolfgang Bach and Cara Santelli (left) and Wolfgang's premier cappucino with the 'perfect' froth. Vicki Ferrini making expresso in the Main Lab.
This evening's sunset was spectacular.