Since the discovery of Moytirra, everyone has calmed down. Everyone knows each other much better, and there is a really nice atmosphere onboard. We have a good routine. The only time there is a bit of a rush is either when the ROV comes up with new samples or when a good movie comes on. Other than that, everyone is working away themselves.
â€˜Itâ€™s like Christmasâ€™, described Maria Judge (GSI), referring to when the ROV recovers to surface with samples. Thereâ€™s a huge rush to the wet lab, where there is a natural divide between Geologists and Biologists down the centre of the Lab. The crew generally gather around to watch the scientistâ€™s examine the specimens of coarse pyrite crystals, anhydrite, vent sulphides, chemosynthetic organisms or basaltic glass. A few hours of examination and the lab slowly quietens down. Either people have slipped off to bed, or a good movie came on.
Over the past few days, we have transited so the Moira Mounds, SW of Ireland. Here, we did some more ROV dives, where we saw cold-water coral mounds, with many different species of coral, some dead, some alive. The area we needed to cover in the ROV was quite large. However, we managed to get some spectacular footage of them and find the areaâ€™s we were looking for relying on backscatter TOBI data. Last night, we managed to multibeam a large section of it which we will use to plot the bathymetry of the mounds. Dr. Andy Wheeler seems quite happy with the data collected, being his area of speciality.
On a lighter note, we had a BBQ Saturday night, as we sailed from 45â€™N. It was sort of a â€˜Goodbye/We just discovered a hydrothermal vent fieldâ€™ Â BBQ, the usual.
Sad to be leaving, and excited to go home, we are now on transit from the Moira Mounds to Cork harbour, where we hope to dock at 7am tomorrow morning. Iâ€™ve had the experience of a lifetime, learned more in a month than I ever have, met some very interesting and smart people and saw what it was like to work in the Marine sector on Irelandâ€™s biggest research vessel with some of Europeâ€™s leading scientists. Iâ€™d like to sincerely thank Dr. Andy Wheeler for this amazing experience.
Thank you for reading,
(Earth Science student, UCC)