DAY 1 -Senior Nootka Sound Research Cruise, 2015

UW Oceanography Senior Cruise 2015

Day 1 – All Hands 07:00 – 12:00, Watch B 12:00 – 20:00, Watch C 20:00 – 04:00

The buildup to today has been immense for everyone, final proposals were completed and turned in on Sunday, the professors put together the cruise plan on Monday and presented it to us Tuesday morning, and then two days of finals, ship prep, and packing to arrive onboard. Most of us are done with finals and completely finished with fall quarter while others unfortunately have to complete their work/finals on the ship. We are crossing our fingers that seasickness will not deter the ability for these students to do well on their finals. I know many of us have been looking forward to being onboard and the relief of having all of the planning done and now taking action to collect the data for our projects and that relief showed today.

Breakfast was talkative and full of excitement of what was coming, although early for many of us that really didn’t show from the conversations I was a part of. The safety brief was simply that, many of us learned for the first time what to do in the case of emergencies and had the experience of putting on an immersion suit for the first time, which was quite entertaining seeing everyone struggling into bright orange neoprene suits. As we were underway to the Ballard locks everyone was busy securing all the equipment and finished as we entered so many of us experience the locks and arriving into Puget Sound from the decks. Chris and I managed to soak our jeans with an unexpected wind wave arriving on the weather deck, we are figuring out the ping pong bracket, and a heated game of “Smart Ass” (trivia) was played in the library.

Our first watch was full of preparations for what is ahead, discussions of how the storms have altered our schedule, and actually getting some collections done and discovering how well a hand-deployed Manta-net acts like a kite in the wind (we didn’t scratch it too bad). A brief sunbreak allowed me to go out and enjoy the sound and try to share it with you all. The night watch was busy, and then slow. We traveled to Discovery Bay, which is close to Port Angeles. We learned how to deploy many different instruments including the CTD, the box core, the multi-core and the bongo nets. Most of the data we collected from this watch will not be used but it was valuable practicing different methods of deployment. For example, there were only two students who were trained to use the bongo nets, so it was quite a struggle for the rest of us trying to help out. It is not easy holding steady an extremely heavy instrument that is swaying in this treacherous wind.  We managed to make it work, and it was very rewarding when we pulled up the net and saw that the messenger did its job. 

For those of us on the night watch, we are all very excited to get some well-deserved shut eye before taking off to Nootka Sound tomorrow afternoon. But before we did that, we wanted to make sure to let you all know we are enjoying the trip, and none of us have thrown up yet!! The forecast shows that there will be 10-15 ft swells along our transit, so we may not be able to say the same tomorrow… Overall the first day has been a mix of relief, work, and fun and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Projects and methods are altering, new things are being learned constantly and I know I speak for everyone when I say a heartfelt thank you to the UW and School of Oceanography for making this happen for us.