August 2004
Newly converted vegetarian Jimmy Warrington.

photo G. Gawarkiewicz

Pallet caught on the flopper stopper.

photo C. Good, Duke U.

Cruise - 2004 - R/V Cape Henlopen

Dispatch 04 - 11 August 2004
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by Glen Gawarkiewicz

The past two days have been wonderful. The seas have been calm, the winds mild, the Scanfish has been flying well, and we have been collecting wonderful data.

The Gulf Stream has diverted northward and our sections and maps show a vast amount of high salinity water over the outer shelf. Just two days ago we were seeing anomalously fresh shelf water, today it is undiluted Gulf Stream water (36 parts per thousand salinity). We are steaming northward now, with a three knot surface current. The rapidity with which the Gulf Stream water overflowed the shelf was very surprising, as yesterday there were only bottom intrusions projecting several kilometers onshore and today the outer shelf is surface to bottom Gulf Stream water. We will do a cross-shelf section later today to see how far onshore the Gulf Stream water has penetrated.

Mooring recovery operations begin tonight, with the recovery of the southernmost mooring (Dana Savidge's 30 m mooring). Tonight Teresa Garner and Jim Churchill will be doing more studies of vertical mixing near the northern moorings.

Cathy Roberts, our ARMADA participant, has been piloting the Scanfish and is now a fully qualified operator. She has been standing watches as well as enjoying the marine mammal sightings. She has also been working with a local stranding network in southern Virginia so she is quite knowledgable about local marine life. Teachers always know best. In a recent discussion of which continent in the eastern Atlantic our present latitude would intersect, Cathy's answer of "right through the Strait of Gibraltar" was the only correct response. Next stop, Jeopardy. Cathy has a former student who will be competing in the Olympics next week (who also won a gold medal in the last summer Olympics).

We have been continuing to see large numbers of marine mammals. We have had three separate sightings of Cuvier's beaked whale, an elusive, deep-diving whale. We have had several groups of bottle-nosed dolphins riding the bow, and several large groups of pilot whales have also been sighted. This morning, at 4 am, a spotted dolphin cavorting near the stern practiced its cannonball dive technique and splashed Brian Kidd as he sat on the fantail. There have been very few sea turtles, despite the large number of jellyfish. However, we have seen a large number of mola-mola (ocean sunfish) which also eat jellyfish.

Two nights ago we had an unwelcome passenger. A large wooden pallet became caught on the port stabilizer chain (or flopper stopper) and was stuck for about two hours. We finally stopped the ship and it fell off.

Jimmy Warrington is still eating vegetarian!!!