Alvin had to cut its dive short today due to a change of weather. The winds picked up and are expected to be 30- 35 knots tomorrow, along with 10 ft seas (but it’s still warm!). I’m excited for the storm. Just watching the waves crashing into the bow today made me giddy. I’ll get to experience what it’s really like when things take a turn for the worse out on the open ocean. The seas started rising this afternoon, as evidenced by the more intense rocking and rolling of the boat. I haven’t had much trouble getting my sea legs- you just have to be able to walk while tipping sideways and bobbing up and down a bit. However, the constant movement did make showering a bit more difficult.
We only had to process one sediment core, so I was able to observe and help the biologists dissect tubeworms and section coral. When processing the tubeworms, you have to separate the insides (mostly bacteria and blood) from the outer tube. Of course, the routine gets quite messy. After one particularly juicy tubeworm, the table looked more like a crime scene than a scientific lab. I got a tubeworm anatomy lesson from Ken Halanych as he was separating the specimen into different samples, but I was preoccupied by the guts so I don’t remember much of it.
Most of the coral sampling took place in the cold room, so I wasn’t able to see it. I did get to see the tubes preserving the small pieces of coral, however. Andrea explained to me that some of the coral samples are going to be used for DNA and population genetics, while the other samples will have their cells inspected. The cells will be examined for any sort of damage caused by the oil spill.
Due to the bad weather, Alvin won’t dive tomorrow. If the weather continues as predicted, we should be able to get in a shallow dive on Monday though.