Our work is done here. In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting in my living room. It’s 5:30 AM and I just got back, checked on the family and sat down in my chair because I’m a bit wired from the cruise still. We had a lot of fun, did a ton of science, and brought home data and samples. The intense work is finished for now, but there is still quite a bit to do. Later today, we’ll have to catalog all the samples we brought back, inventory the expendables and consumables we’ll have to replace, put things away, fix the broken stuff, clean the dirty stuff, and get ready to go on the next cruise. In fact, tomorrow I’ll be packing for the Gulf of Mexico cruise, which starts next Tuesday!
We had a very successful cruise despite Scanfish problems and some wind during the last few net tows. I don’t know the exact number of samples, but in total for everyone on the cruise it has to be over 1000. That includes filters with phytoplankton and protists on them, tubes with water samples to look at water chemistry, vials with individual plantkon for molecular analysis, petri dishes containing stained plankton samples to determine whether they were alive or dead when caught, jars with dissolved jellyfish to look at gut contents, jars of zooplankton, and jars of fish. Not to mention the fluorescence readings, plankton photos for image analysis, and electronic data that comes off the ship with us. The entire time we’re on the boat, the ship is recording a suite of weather information and sea surface conditions every 10 seconds, as well as the current speed and direction below the ship. In subsequent posts I’ll talk a little more about this data and these systems, and I’ll post some pictures from around the ship for a virtual tour.
But for now, I’ll leave you with pretty pictures and ride out the “dock rock” (that feeling of still being on the boat even if you are still on dry land) in my comfy living room chair.