VENTuRE Cruise – 23rd-July-2011

Dr. Andy Wheeler being recorded by National Geographic while on Video call to the Minister Simon Coveney

The past 2 days have been full of excitement and disappointment. Dr. Andy Wheeler had an exciting video call with the Minister from Marine, Fisheries & Agriculture Simon Coveney, where the Minister seemed very interested with the objectives of the cruise. Following this, we got very large temperature, eH, and Nephel anomalies near the sea floor on the CTD profile. Relief and excitement overwhelmed the scientific party. Within a few hours of this, Holland 1 ROV was ready to be deployed for dive 092- the first dive of the survey.

It was about 10pm when the ROV was deployed. There is a container onboard from where the ROV team control the ROV, and where one Geologist and one Biologist observe and log the ROV’s cameras. I was lucky enough to be the first ‘Geo’ that was in the container to observe and log the ROV footage where Verity Nye (Marine Biology PhD student, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton) was the first ‘Bio’.  Taking almost an hour to get near 3000m below the surface, we eventually began to see the sea bed. The terrain was rough, dominated by steep basalt cliffs, large angular basalt clasts and light pelagic sediment. This was a real test for ROV Holland 1. However, after 15minutes of bottom time, there was a loss in oil pressure and Holland 1 had to recover to the surface. It was a bit disappointing, but it was still the first dive.

Saturday morning, after the ROV had been revitalised, the swell was too high, and the winds and currents were too strong, so the ROV couldn’t be deployed. Again, this was disappointing. Dr. Bram Murton was most disappointed. To put it in perspective, it’s like not being able to play with your new toy car.

Dr. Bram Murton holding the CTD profile showing the highest eH, Temperature and Nephel anomolies yet

After another day of CTD’s, we realised the phone lines and internet had been down for hours. We were completely isolated. ‘‘it’s like were in the middle of the flippin’ ocean’’, according to Dr. Wheeler.

However, in the past few hours, the weather conditions have calmed down and the ROV had been deployed an hour ago. Excitement is filling the dry lab onboard as the scientific party are currently watching the ROV venture through the rough volcanic terrain at the Mid Atlantic Ridge. It’s 2am, and we’re currently looking at the screen showing the real-time footage of the target vent area. The atmosphere is tense, National Geographic are awake and ready, and people are afraid to go to bed in case they miss anything. I can’t type anymore ‘cause I wanna see what’s going on.

I’ll see how it goes, and I’ll let ya know in the next update!

Check out the other blogs in the mean time!

Aaron

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One Response to VENTuRE Cruise – 23rd-July-2011

  1. Brendan says:

    ‘‘it’s like we’re in the middle of the flippin’ ocean’’

    that is quality:) keep a list of all the great quotes!

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