The research team again rises early (around 6:30AM) to begin their day! At 3:00AM this morning, the vessel arrived at the team's first site, so the ship is ready to release its submersible bright and early! The four researchers diving in the submersible today will visit a total of 6-7 areas within this site. While the researchers are intent on collecting tubeworms, much of the specimens collected today will be used as a test-run/practice for the days to follow. The morning dive is taken by Auburn University freshman, Rebecca Doss, and Dr. Ken Halanych. The trip lasts about three-and-a-half hour and the two arrive back on the ship with their buckets full of tubeworms and other marine life. Rebecca describes the entire trip as surreal, beyond belief, and more like outer space than the deep ocean.
Upon the sub's return, there is a flurry of action as the researchers divide into their teams to complete their work before the sub returns again around 7:30PM this evening. The physiology team takes samples from the worms. While the sorting team separates the worms by species, removes the tube from each organism, takes a picture of each species, and begin the preservation process. This entire process is again repeated at 7:30PM, when Dr. Fielman and graduate student Nate Kirk return from the second dive of the day.
Even though life was busy in the science lab today, this is also the first full day at sea. Life at sea is something everyone has to get accustomed to. In fact, many of the researchers have never spent the night on a ship prior to last night! Not knowing what to expect, many are worried about sea-sickness and getting their 'sea legs' quickly this morning. Luckily, waters remained calm and most people were feeling great by mid-morning!
Also related to life at sea, is the food. These researchers will not be on land until Sunday. For this reason, many were nervous about the food on-board. However, this ship is fully equipped! The ship has an open kitchen all day in which the researchers can eat anything from candy bars to yogurt to leftovers! However, many do not feel the need to snack because the meals are especially delicious. Today for breakfast, the ship served French toast and eggs. Then at lunch everyone is treated to fish tacos! Finally, to complete the day the crew ate Prime Steak, Potatoes, Broccoli with cheese, bread, and salad! In fact, for many of the students, food on board is probably better than food at home!