Tiny cups, origami, & beautiful skies

by Anna Simpson

We have been doing lots of science things which all seem to be going well to me. This being my first research cruise, I have been observing and learning a lot about how oceanographic data is collected and processed. Mostly, I help take salinity and nutrient samples from the CTD cast and process the ADCP data. Part of what we are doing during this cruise, is deploying RAFOS floats which are instruments that sit at a certain depth in the ocean and float around with whatever current they are in. At a specific time interval, they record a signal out which is send out by sound source moorings and using three return signals, it can determine its location. In two years, they will come to the surface and transmit all the data that will tells us the path it took and therefore give us information about the deep currents. Ryan taught me how to program these floats to turn them on and make sure they’re working and ready to deploy.

In other news, yesterday we did the classic Styrofoam CTD cast where we first drew on Styrofoam cups and attached them to the CTD using our socks and sent them to 3000m. Now, we have nice shot glass size Styrofoam cups. While waiting for the CTD or getting to a station, sometimes the watch standers take up different activities besides working and data processing like reading and doing origami. Penny’s desk has started being filled with different critters.

Other things in the non-science realm of the cruise are the different games played after dinner including Scrabble, Wii Frisbee golf and 100 pin bowling, and trivial pursuit. Also, working out in the gym has been a daily activity for some of us. Running sometimes proves to be difficult since the ground is constantly moving underneath but I think my balance and coordination have improved somewhat.

The sky has been mostly cloudy and gray, but the sun has broken through a few days and the clouds have become more interesting than just blankets of gray. And when it is a bit more clear near the ends of the day, they reflect the sunlight in magnificent reds, tangerines, and golden colors. I have greatly appreciated these sunsets and sunrises though they have been few. Also, the views of the waves out of my cabin porthole are very nice.

Photos by Anna Simpson

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