Visitng E1

We arrived at position E1, south of the Eddystone, at about 0600. This is a site regularly sampled by the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), generally about once per month but more frequently recently in collaboration with the project we are working on. Scientists and technical staff at PML maintain a data-gathering buoy out here. We carried out 6 seabed cores this morning, and were then met by the two PML boats. Coring the seabed from the PML boats is difficult, so they are very happy that we can stop here for a few hours to collect these samples for them, and transfer the samples to their boats to be taken back to PML and analysed.

It was also our last CTD profile here at E1, at 0630. And it was fully mixed from the surface down to the seabed! Not too surprising as E1 is fairly close to the permanently-mixed water of the English Channel, and it’s only 75 metres deep. So we expect it to become mixed relatively early in autumn. We’ll do some more zooplankton nets this afternoon – Sari Giering is keen to have a lst go at collecting some more of the trichodesmium nitrogen-fixing bacteria, this time to get some samples for some DNA analysis.

The clear-up of the labs has begun. The ship has a fast turn-around in Southampton, so we need to be ready when we arrive tomorrow evening to get some of the larger bits of equipment and container labs off. Some of the scientists took some time to go on a tour of the ship’s engines. Nick, the 2nd enginner, showed us around those normally hidden parts of the ship that power us through the water, provide fine-control of the ship’s position when we are working a station, as well as powering all our instruments, making our freshwater, ventilating the ship, and treating the sewerage. Remember there are about 50 people living on this 100m-long metal box for several weeks at a time: the ship is like a small, very independent village.


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