January 1, 2014 Slideshow

Bosun Ed “Catfish” Popowitz climbs aboard Atlantis from a water taxi that brings scientists and crew from the port city of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. In the background, Shipboard Scientific Services Group (SSSG) technician Catie Graver hoists a suitcase onto the deck.

Our “water taxi,” a small fishing boat, heads back to Puntarenas.

All scientists, technicians, and crew aboard the Atlantis don their life vests for a safety drill as the ship heads to sea.

Even in tropical waters, hypothermia can be a real danger. To keep warm in case we have to abandon ship, every person aboard Atlantis is issued a “Gumby” suit—a thick wetsuit that covers the entire body. (Clockwise from top left: Erwan Peru, Xi Wei, Ruby Ponnudarai, Miriam Sollich, Ashley Grosche, Jen Barone, Matt Rawls, François Tomas, Kerry McCulloch, David Levin).

Jason technicians Casey Agee (left) and Rick Sanger (right) inspect a temperature sensor that the vehicle will bring to the ocean floor.

WHOI scientist François Thomas filters water that will be used in a flow cytometer, a machine that can count individual microbes.

Technician Sean Sylva tests the gas flow rate of a chromatograph, a device used to analyze the chemical content of samples. It’s a high-tech machine, but he’s using a low-tech method to calibrate it. First, he makes a soap bubble in a glass vial connected to the machine, and then he counts the amount of time the bubble takes to pass between two markers on the glass. “It’s simple, but it’s incredibly reliable,” he said. 

Jason expedition leader Tito Collasius (far right) gives a brief tour of the vehicle to the science team: (left to right) Jesse McNichol, Horst Felbeck, Dionysis Foustoukos).

Even after New Year’s, dozens of Christmas decorations are still scattered around the ship. This small tree in the Atlantis lounge sports an unusual ornament—a decorated Styrofoam cup that dove to the sea floor with Alvin in October, 1998. The intense pressure at the bottom of the ocean crushed the cup, shrinking it to the size of a thimble.

Ruby Ponnudarai (left) and Jesse McNichol practice for a New Year’s Day ping-pong tournament. The slow rolling of the ship creates an extra challenge for the contestants.

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