Over the weekend the weather has picked up a bit and we had couple of glorious days of sunshine complete with great sunsets such as the one pictured a few days ago. We have now moved from sampling the muddy and sandy sites A and G to site I which is the muddy sand site.
Helen Smith, Kirsty Morris, Natalie Hicks and Sarah Reynolds pointing at the location of sites I and H.
By Sunday we had managed to successfully complete all of the coring that we needed to do at site I, leaving only a few samples left to collect before we can move on to station H, the final of the four benthic sites (we are still planning on journeying to the shelf edge to a site called CANDYFLOSS, with the PSO (Principle Scientific Officer) Malcolm Woodward currently working hard on designing the TARDIS that will be taking us there).
Unfortunately there is no such thing as a weekend on a research cruise but some scientists have managed to carve out some very rare leisure time away. There is a film room with an extensive DVD collection (and the centre of RRS Discovery yoga), as well as a bar with a satellite TV where a few of us watched comic relief on Friday. The Kitchen-Galley is spacious and the food has been consistently delicious, indeed it will probably be the thing I miss most about the ship – Thank you Mark and Amy!
Mark, head chef on the RRS Discovery
Apart from the coring we also managed to complete most of the trawling that we need to do this trip. Three trawls are conducted per station and Steve Widdicombe of Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) will be analysing the animals that are brought up to try and estimate the biomass of marine animals that live on the sea floor. Some of the colourful creatures that we found in our nets have been photographed by Kirsty Morris (National Oceanography Centre).
A cuttlefish (photo by Kirsty Morris)
A shrimp caught in the trawl (photo by Kirsty Morris)
A spider crab (photo by Kirsty Morris)
We’re now heading into the next week at warp speed and are looking forward to completing the work at site I so that we can move to H and then to CANDYFLOSS, where as well as carrying out our usual coring, water sampling and other data collection tasks we will make a short detour to pick up and drop off some sea gliders (more about them later in the blog).
The trawl net being brought back in (photo by Kirsty Morris)