Almost there! Three stations to go!

It’s hard to believe that we have already recovered 27 Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBSs) since we left Kodiak. There are only 3 stations left, and when I’m writing this sentence, we are heading to station WD47 and will hopefully arrive in 3 hours.

Time on the ship flies. When I checked the calendar this morning, suddenly, I noticed there are only 3 days left for our 18-day OBS recovery “cruise” journey. Looking back into the past 15 days, we experienced one big storm that lasted for about three days and one small storm for only one day, and both of them were the hard times for me. During the storm, I can’t even walk freely in the ship without holding the handle in the hallway, and the ship was rolling for over 10 degrees. As a geophysics student, I could find a way to calculate how much energy was in the storm and get that number, but that number will never give you the real feeling like this. However, I have to say, except for the storm, all other days are beautiful. Just see the photos.

Fig1

Fig2

Life on a ship is different and interesting. First, and the most important thing, YOU DO NOT NEED TO DECIDE WHAT TO EAT FOR EVERY MEAL, which is a big relief to me. No kidding, sometimes that’s a life decision for me. Since I’m on the night shift, I will be awake during 22:00-6:00 ship time. So the “breakfast” will be my dinner and the “dinner” will be my dinner. Also, I learned how to play cribbage, which is the most famous card game on American ships (according to Peter, I don’t know that’s true or not). And today I found a trident on the ship (see photo below), does that mean anything? Maybe it belongs to Poseidon and he can give us some magic power? Hahaha.

Fig3

The science part goes well on this trip. Like I said, we have already successfully recovered 27 stations. We also tried to recover two extra stations, which the other OBS recovery cruise failed to get, but we had no luck either.  As an apply-to-sail graduate student, my job is writing the 30-minute watch log and also helping the OBS team to communicate with the OBS, including sending signals to OBS, reporting the status to the bridge, and helping to move the OBS on board. By doing that, I got a pretty clear Big-picture understanding about how the OBSrecovery systems work. And most importantly, I finally got a chance to take a look at an OBS in person, which I have been using the data from for years. I have to say the whole OBS station is just like an art. Every time when I see an OBS on board, it will take me a minute to believe that whole stuff was sitting in the 4000m-deep ocean just two hours ago, and now I can touch it.

Fig4

An OBS waiting to be recovered

Fig5

Almost on board!

After we pick up the last 3 stations, we will do a small ocean bottom topography survey near the epicenter of 2018 Gulf of Alaska Mw7.9 earthquake, then we will head to Kodiak. Hope everything goes well!

Zhengyang Zhou, AACSE apply to sail participant, Graduate student from Washington University in St. Louis

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