Seeking mud- Part 1*

On many research cruises, the first few days are spent troubleshooting equipment. Well, our cruise is only 3 1/2 days long, so we don’t really have much time to spare. Everybody was feeling a little nervous when the very first deployment went awry. The multi-corer, an instrument that collects 8 simultaneous core samples of bottom sediments, fired somewhere above the bottom, and collected only water. Travis Washburn  is looking for small animals (mostly worms!) that live in the mud around methane seeps in this area. Fortunately, our second attempt at collecting mud for his work was successful! As I am writing this, he is coring at a second site, and we are all hoping for the best! I am off to bed now- though it’s only 18:00/ 6:00 pm, I’ve got to wakeup at midnight for my own sampling (more to come soon!).


Harbor mouth on our way out to sea. It is a stunning day- sunny and clear.

corer_water                  corer_mud

First multi-corer deployment coming up empty.               Second try: This is more like it!

travis_CoreTravis is happy!


Scooping mud into bottles. The mud is preserved in formaldehyde, so Travis can examine preserved critters back on stable ground in the lab.


* We’ve got a lot of sediment fanatics on this trip, so I’ll tell you more about what the rest of these mud lovers are up to in upcoming posts.



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The Training Begins

Today was a very busy day! We spent the morning meeting people from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), our host institution, and from the University National Oceanographic Laboratories (UNOLS). These wonderful folks taught us all about the history of the research fleet and the organization, how to request ship time, and how to start planning for an oceanographic expedition. After lunch on the ship, we spent the afternoon touring the R/V Point Sur, and learned more about the planning and execution of a successful cruise. In the evening we had a fantastic bbq at MLML overlooking the water- and saw humpback whale spouts in the distance! Tomorrow we finalize our cruise plan, and get all the equipment and lab supplies ready to go. We are all looking forward to sailing on Wednesday!


R/V Point Sur at dawn.

Views from the ship:

smokestack      fishingboats

Smokestacks.                                                            Fishing boats .


Sea lions (these we could hear barking all day long!)

joegumby4     joegumby3     Joegumby

Joe Carlin demonstrates donning of the “gumby suit!” We all thought he did this quite gracefully and quickly for a first timer!


All photos by: Amanda Netburn

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