Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Heading out

Very early this morning (5:00 AM!), we pulled away from the dock of the Marine Science Building at University of Washington and set sail for Axial Seamount. We won’t actually get there until tomorrow (Sept 4), but we got underway, headed west through Puget Sound (including through the Ballard Locks shown at right), and out through the Juan de Fuca straits.

What do the ship’s crew and scientists all do while sailing towards the volcano?

  •  Safety is of utmost concern. We were guided through two safety activities. The first was a review of safe practices aboard the ship, including what to do in case of a real emergency in which we might need to don our Immersion Suits (see Andra Bobbitt in hers left). The second was a firedrill involving “all hands”!
  •  While headed to Axial Seamount, folks also were briefed on the ROV Jason and how we’ll record details of every dive. The ROV Jason crew and the research scientists have developed efficient ways of documenting each moment of every dive - from video logs, to detailed notes taken throughout each dive. The science teams now have schedules set up so we know who will help record (log) the dives. In some cases, we’ll have a rotating crew 24/7 for 4-5 hour shifts each. We’ll be busy!
  •  The science crew (with lots of help from the R/V Thompson crew) is getting all the gear ready for the first deployment of instruments (Wednesday night) along with all the other gear that will be used throughout the cruise.
As we head out to sea, leaving the Juan de Fuca straits that separate Washington State from Canada was a bit surreal- particularly with the small pod of whales who showed up, seemingly to wish us a “bon voyage”! Our last views of Washington – seen behind the ROV Jason, (below) marked the last time we’ll see land until our return on September 18. It’s exciting to think about all the work to be done in the meantime and easy to believe we’ll be incredibly busy throughout.