OceansWide “On the Road”

Part 1

The time comes when we all need to spread their wings and leave the nest. OceansWide has hit the road to spread the word about our program and all we have to offer. We will travel through the states speaking to schools, reconnecting with old friends and making brand new ones.  Speaking is not all we do. This show goes on the road featuring our trailer full of equipment. This includes one of our three complete ROV systems, which is complemented by our cold water survival gear and scuba equipment.

The trip started in Maine and made its first stop in Massachusetts. From there the tour moved on with a short stop in Connecticut to Pick me up we then stopped in Hamilton New York to meet up with an old friend and to make connections with the local colleges in preparation for a future presentation on the way back home.

We then kicked the tires and put rubber on road and drove to Washington DC.  Here we will spend the next few days both being the camera toting tourists and speaking about the educational outreach possibilities with the people of our Nation’s Capital.

Our first tour here in DC was the natural science and history museum. There we couldn’t help our but to spend most of our time in the oceans exhibit.

Who knows what this adventure is going to bring next

Take a look at our photos from the road

Please check back soon and follow us on Facebook.

Keep on trucking

The OceansWide road crew

 

Part 2

Our adventure continues. After exploring Washington D.C. and the beauty in the surrounding suburbs, including Great Falls National Park, we pulled the chucks from the tires and moved on. We headed west on I-64 through the rain and the Appalachian Mountains to Louisville Kentucky. Here we once again met up with family and friends. While there we visited Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky derby (Check out the pictures of our trailer in front of the iconic steeples). While fun was had by all in the land of thoroughbreds and bluegrass again the need to continue moving, put us back on the road, the show must go on!  We were off to St. Louis and the childhood home of our fearless leader. This stop brought back memories and presented opportunities for presentations to local schools. This venture has just begun but the lists of presentations and the people interested, is growing rapidly.

Please check out all of our tour information here and more information on Facebook.

The OceansWide road crew

 

Check out Buzz’s Antarctic ROV Blog Here!

 

OceansWide Blog Part 1

September 7-October 5th 2011

Ahoy from the RVIB Nathaniel B Palmer, here is a summary of what got us to this point in my first Antarctic trip. On September 7th I flew out for orientation inDenverColorado. After a few days in orientation, I flew to Punta Arenas Chile which is where I boarded the Palmer and began my voyage.

We did not leave right away when I got there, there was much work to be done before the scientists showed up and we left.  The first item of business was to load the boat with all the needed supplies and gear for our journey. It was a multiple day process, but not quite as long as long of a process as the boat across the pier form us. From the day I got to the ship to the day before we left port, 24 hours a day, they were working the ship unloading what must have been millions of tons of fish.  These men worked round the clock hauling pallet after pallet of frozen fish from the hold while men on the pier stacked it and loaded it onto the trucks. It was impressive to watch.

Then came the day we depart it was a bight Saturday morning on the 17th of September and we casted off and motored towards Cabo Negro were we fueled the ship for our trip. As we left PA we passed an Argentinean naval school sailing vessel that was coming into port for a celebration it was quite a sight to see with ship sailing in and the band and officers waiting on the dock. From there we steamed through the straights of Magellan and headed for the Drake Passage to our first destination, a trawling spot at Shag rocks. Here we tried many methods of fishing in order to start obtaining our target species. These species are invertebrates ranging from a tiny little nudibranch to octopus and sea stars or all shapes and sizes. The methods that we used to capture our spineless friends ranged from fish pots to Blake trawl nets.  The pots were released and checked in 24 hours however they did not pull up the target species. They did however pull up some big crabs J for dinner (see mom I am not the only one eating my science) the Blake trawl has been our most successful.  We have also used an NTT dredge which is meant for deeper rockier bottoms, though it yielded far less.

Once we wrapped up a few days of fishing at multiple location off the shag rocks we headed forSouth Georgia. This is where we had the surprise of a lifetime. Now it was not because of what we ate on the boat which for the most part is pretty awesome. It was not because of what we caught in the net, but for the first time since 2004 a party form the USAP was invited to come ashore and explore the many wonders ofSouth Georgia. It was all so exciting for many different reasons, first of all we were able to get off the boat and do something different, and for me that meant zodiac operations which are always fun. On a more breathtaking note  we were able to explore the remains of an old whaling station see the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

This was the climax of the day to stand on the island and try and get a sense of what he felt those many years ago after his most trying expedition. Oh, and of course we got to see some of the native wild life up close and personal including elephant and fur seals.

When it was all over, and the storms began to roll in we departed and headed further south and towards the south sandwich islands. Here our science continued and hit our first patching of grease ice, pancake ice, and true ice flows it was truly amazing to see. Though one must also remember that when ice is present in the water it’s most likely on your ship as well, and it was that reason that I have had my first late night on the ship chipping away at ice and I am sure it won’t be my last And to end on the most exciting news of all on October 5th 2011 I saw my first live penguin in its natural habitat.

 

Blog Part 2

Ahoy once again from the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer. We are more than half way through our voyage, and it is time to update and answer some questions about the cruise.

Our trip has taken us west to Shag rock then down to South Georgia Island, we then traveled to the South Sandwich Island followed by Heardman bank and discovery bank.  We then steamed for 200 + miles to theSouth Orkney Islandsfor a few more samples in a new spot for the science team. Then it was off to

Elephant Island is where we are now. You might ask why they call it elephant island, and it is not because there was a heard of former circus elephants left there in the 40’s …..Just kidding.  It is named for its shape which looks an awful lot like an elephant.

The cruise for the most part has been moderate to smooth sailing… but there have been exceptions.  Below is are two pictures, one of a calm sunny day on the back deck and the next is a picture of the same back deck during a storm in the Drake Passage ( the body of water between Cape Horn, South America and the Palmer Peninsula, Antarctica).  Note the metal framework in both pictures to give your minds eye a reference.

At this point in the trip we have had the up and the downs when it comes to the catch. We have lost gear we have broken gear and have pulled back empty nets.  I mentioned in the previous Blog that the Blake trawl has been the most successful of all the fishing gear and that has continued. Our success has even grown for over the past few days atElephantIslandand theBransfieldStraitwe have been bring up bags filled up to the cod end with critters. To put that into prospective that is a bag of critters bigger than me both tall and around!

From an observers point of view the science has been incredible I have seen more animals then I have ever heard of.  We have seen everything from iridescent worms to pick coral. Now think about it, these creatures are living at the bottom of the southern ocean in some of the coldest saltiest water in the world and they are thriving. Here are some pictures…

On another completely different topic unrelated to science, a few people have been asking me about what goes on around the boat, when we are not hauling nets aboard and subsequently shoulder deep in a crate full of squishy invertebrates.  The answer is there is a lot to do for fun when you are not working.

For the work out fanatics a gym with weights and cardio equipment, and you can follow up your work out with a nice sauna. If working out is not your cup of tea and you are more the competitive type you can take part in games of ping pong or foosball (In cruse tournaments are held regularly and as you will notice Costumes are encouraged).

If you want to stimulate you mind you can choose a book form our shipboard library or help complete the regularly posted crossword puzzle. Also to  flex the mind  games of Cribbage are regularly seen throughout the ship.

Or if you would rather let you mind take a hike then relax in one of our 3 lounges and enjoy a movie or some quite time.

This voyage sails on I continue to have fun and learn more and more every day anywhere from the inner workings of the ship here to learning about a new organism that I never thought existed.  I await the next cruise with excitement for I have no idea what it could bring, but I can’t wait and I am enjoying every moment of it.

I hope all of you that are reading this are happy healthy and find yourself  challenged every day and strive for the best.

 

Blog Part 3

Blog Part three

Ahoy and once again welcome to the RVIB Nathaniel B Palmer. Much has changed since the last Update so let me fill you in.  We arrived back in Punta Arenas Chili on the night of November 4th over the next few days we helped the scientists from the cruise offload their equipment and all of their samples. This was a multiple day process requiring many people to pack and box samples to people like myself who with the help of the ships Crew assisted in using the crane to get everything from the ship and on to truck on the pier The samples that were off loaded from this cruise will then take the long trip back to the labs in the States and inAustralia. Now I say long trip because all the samples will not arrive until February!! Once the do arrive there will be much work for the scientist for with all the samples they collected they have years worth of work and many papers to publish.

Now that the samples are on their way north and the scientist depart we remember all of the events of the cruise from the many hours of trawls, the bowls and bowls of liquid Nitrogen ice cream, the piles of samples on the deck to sort through, our trip to sough Georgia and our Halloween celebration. Overall it was a very successful trip filled with Quality science and many memories that all will remember for ever from those who have gone south for the first time to those who have been here for years. And one more treat to add to the previous list of treats on this cruise we had the joy of being docked next to a South Korean Vessel by the name of the Araon  (which we toured)  and later the RRV(Royal research Vessel) Discovery from England.

As is the life aboard the Palmer one Cruise ends and the next begins. Before we welcome on new support staff and new scientists we have to prep for the next mission and repair and restock for the next trip (keep in mind if we run out of anything on the trip that is it there is no floating hardware or grocery store. Therefore we have to reload and resupply in port. So we got to work we helped load all the gear for the next Cruise and we took care of projects aboard the vessel and in our warehouse. Over our time ashore I spent much of my time priming and painting new parts that have arrived and were stored along with busting rust off equipment so that it can be repainted and taken care of. We also spent time relabeling containers and updating inventory. Time was also spent maintaining gear and improving the ship set up for the next cruise.

Then November 16th arrived and we welcomed our new science staff the ship and started to prepare for sea. Preparing for sea is very critical on this cruise for we will be spending all of our time in theDrake Passage, which is historically some of the roughest toughest seas out there.

The Drake is the setting for this the 5th and final Cruise for the Cherskin group. They have over the past 5 years been collecting data of the three major currents that Circumvent the Antarctic continent. The Data that they are collecting includes current readings of speed  and direction while also including information of salinity and temperature and pressure.

On this cruise we will be using a CTD (conductivity temperature and depth) sensor to survey 45 site and then recover a moorings at each of those site. The hope is that we will recover all the moorings and that the CTD cast that went along with that site Jive and can validate some of the data.

This process is a long process for this equipment is focused on the bottom of the passage, in upwards of 4000 meters of water. To give you an idea of our process this is how it goes. We arrive on station and listen for a radio signal form the mooring if is responding and recording data we then go ahead and validate that data with a CTD cast these casts take upwards of 3 hours per cast for we must slowly lower the instrument to the bottom and allow it to collect is data then bring it back up while collecting some water samples. Once the cast is completed we go ahead and send a signal to the mooring to release, it then releases from the bottom and floats to the surface where we recover it with a large team effort. (please see the photo series below.)

We are now a quarter of the way through the sights and things are going well with very few issues. The weather has been on our side and we are all having a great time while working and learning a lot. I hope this update finds all of you well and that you have had a great and Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends.