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Latitude: 33° 48'N
Longitude: 62° 34'W
Wind Direction: Variable
Wind Speed: 3 Knots
Sea State: 1
Sea Temperature: 73°F (22.8°C)
Swell(s) Height: 4 Foot
Barometric Pressure: 1021.0 MB
Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup
Split pea soup with ham
Shells and penne with meatballs and meat sauce
Egg salad pita pockets
Veal Marengo (mushroom, onion, garlic, wine sauce)
Grilled shrimp and scallop piri-piri
Greek grilled cauliflower, fire-roasted red pepper and calamata olive mélange
Garlic whipped mashed potatoes
Fresh baked pesto bread
Dutch apple crisp
Kids in a candy store
June 4, 2003
By Joe Appel
On the surface, not much changes here. The
water's always very blue, we rarely see another boat, ditto for
birds or other wildlife, we don't pass land. No, the drama takes
place beneath the surface. And today was dramatic.
Expedition Leader Pat Hickey passed a milestone today, leading scientists on
his 501st dive in Alvin. Pat's 15 years' worth of expertise shone through.
In five hours, Pat helped fill the sub's collection basket with eight bags of
samples, from seven different locations or "stations". In some places, he didn't
even really need to stop; he just grabbed stuff and kept going.
And it was good stuff. The bags were filled
with Desmophyllum cristagalli fossil corals from a 250-meter
range, living corals, urchins and sponges. The divers even saw
a two-foot-long 'Dumbo' octopus swim by, so nicknamed because
of big flaps around its ears.
The samples will help fill in more of the 'depth range', so that we have a fuller
picture of the chemical make-up of the deep ocean. And all signs point to there
being loads more corals down there.
This brings up a dilemma, actually. Do we stay on Muir Seamount to try to get
corals from other depths? Or do we think about heading back to Manning Seamount,
where the Desmophyllum cristagalli we picked up in the first dive shows signs
of being older? The decision is complicated by the fact that there's still rough
weather up by Manning.
Don't think it's all about the coral, though. As the cruise goes on, we all develop
a deeper comfort level with the ship. We've gotten to be friends with it. Evening
after dinner finds many of us lazing about on different decks, watching the sun
go down amidst splotchy clouds.
Then there's the exciting nighttime energy in the main lab. The music's playing,
scientists are busy sorting corals (or sneaking in a quick ping-pong or foosball
A few of us stepped outside for a while with a fishing rod, and we hooked our
first squid. We put it on ice, where it will stay until we have enough to cook
up some calamari for the whole crew. It feels good being part of this natural
world we're all so eager to learn more about.
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