Sunday, July 5, 2009

Come on and get in the boat, fishes.

The most incredible fishing experience of my life happened last night.

Roxie, Chris, and I are out standing on the rail next to the van,
looking out into the black. The weather has been pretty calm, so when
someone from a deck or two up tosses a can into the water, we can see
it floating there at the edge of the lights, bobbing on tiny waves.

All of a sudden, a half dozen Mahi Mahi come blazing out from under
the boat and start tossing around the can. In the space of about ten
seconds, Chris has bolted inside, grabbed a pole, and made a perfect
cast just upwind of the can. Another breath, and there's a fish on. Bam!

The fight lasted a good long while -- that beautiful fish stripping
line off the reel, diving down under the hull, always managing to miss
the net -- and then it was over.

From gazing out over the ocean to sushi dinner in five minutes. Unreal.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Done with experiments!

Finally. I have chopped my last snail.

Now, just five days of washing, scrubbing, greasing, and packing to

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Snails III

Alright, Blogger. Let's get this done.

Getting in the water

We've gotten pretty lucky this cruise, with pretty calm seas most of
the time. That means not many dives lost to weather, more research
accomplished, and of course the important furthering of humankind's
understanding of the deep mysteries of inner space.

There have been a few big days, though. That's not such an issue for
the ship, which is 274 feet long, or for the sub, which is typically
about 2700 meters below the waves. People, of course, don't matter.

No, the waves are mostly an issue in terms of getting the ROV Jason II
into and out of the ocean. As you can see, the Jason crew use a little
crane that's literally bolted in place to hoist the robot up, over the
side, and onto the deck. When the waves are rolling, that crane is
moving up and down a few meters over the course of seconds. Assuming
you manage to actually pluck the sub out of the water, you'd better be
careful not to let the next big wave smack into all the precious
scientific apparatus and samples stashed on various bits of the bot.

But of course they're good at what they do, and the half-a-dozen of us
scientists gathered to watch millions of dollars worth of ROV smash
into the waves / boat / whale were disapp -- er, delighted that the
cruise could continue. Dara, who's operating the crane in the picture,
snagged the sub up and out of the trough neat as can be.