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Daily Cruise Journals


October 8, 2009

6:30 AM- Breakfast is served (eggs).

8:00 AM- Will Hatleberg and Dr. Dan Thornhill visit the bottom in the submersible.

11:30 AM- The submersible Johnson Sea-Link II emerges.

12:30 PM- Lunch is served (Buffalo-style chicken strips).

4:00 PM- Erin Edmondson and Dr. Ray Henry visit the bottom in the submersible.

7:30 PM- Dinner is served (fried scallops and steamed vegetables).

7:30 PM- The submersible Johnson Sea-Link II emerges.


N 29.09 / W 88.01


85 F / 29 C

Wind Speed:

Slight breeze

Sky Conditions:

Clear and Mostly Sunny

Today is less hectic than yesterday already! The scientists know what to do when the submersible emerges, and what needs to be done while the submersible is at sea. Everyone has their own job and they now have it down to an art!

Two submersible dives occur today. The first dive occurs around 8:00 AM. One of the primary investigators, Dr. Dan Thornhill, and an undergraduate student from his lab at Bowdoin College, Will Hatleberg, found two amazing sites. They brought back many tubeworms (picture below in the buckets), sea stars (including a brittle star), shrimp, and even a few crabs! It is a very impressive showing. The second dive occurred around 4:30 PM. Ms. Erin Edmondson, a seventh grade teacher from J.F. Drake Middle School, and Auburn University Professor, Dr. Ray Henry, visit five different areas of the same site. Two of the five sites were impressive and they too saw much sea life, like red-colored fishes, crabs and white sea anemones (picture below)! In fact, they captured a giant isopod (below left picture)! However, when they open the tank to add tubeworms later in the evening, the isopod quickly jumps out and runs away! They also see a white lobster (below right picture), an organism the pilot says in nearly impossible to catch! They come a way with more tubeworms, sea stars, sea fan, and a few shrimp!

Giant isopod
Elusive white lobster

Life at the bottom of the Gulf

A few specimens collected from the bottom of the Gulf

Below are two pictures of the Johnson Sea-Link II. The first one is of the submersible leaving for its trip to the bottom while the second is the submersible returning to the surface.

Johson Sea-Link II leaving the deck

Johson Sea-Link II returns to the surface from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico

Finally, the day ends around 11:30PM, when the MOCNESS comes up from being placed at the bottom of the ocean a few hours earlier. The MOCNESS is a system of nets that is lowered into the ocean. Upon its return, it spends 15 minutes at specific depths as it makes its way up the water column to the surface. At each level, a series of nets capture organisms at that depth in the ocean. It is huge machine and can be difficult to manage. However, it made a successful trip to the surface and the researchers retrieved a few interesting organisms.

Due to some severe weather to our West, we will have to bypass a few sites and head back East tomorrow. For this reason, we will stay in this same location for another day.