ECOGIG: March '13 cruise Blog Entry #5

Note: This is a guest post by Dr. Beth Orcutt, Senior Research Scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine. Orcutt is a participant in the ECOGIG project and will be blogging here about her experiences on the March 2013 RV Pelican ECOGIG cruise to deploy deep-sea landers in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
ECOGIG: March '13 cruise Blog Entry #5
 
This cruise is definitely one of the most fast and furious I have ever been on. After working tirelessly all day yesterday, preparing our experiments for the lander platforms, we shoved off from the dock in Cocodrie a little after midnight. A precious few hours of sleep, and then our team was back in the lab, continuing our preparations. We arrived on site a little after lunch time and immediately set to work collecting samples of water from the bottom of the Gulf at our sample site. We knew that we were in the right place to be sampling natural oil seeps in the Gulf, as the air smelled of crude and the surface of the ocean was coated in the rainbow sheen caused by oily bubbles rising to the surface from the depths below. The next order of operations was to test out some site reconnaissance equipment brought on board by our colleagues from the University of Mississippi. And all the while, my team continued to assemble the most massive long-term fluid and microbiology sampling apparatus I have ever witnessed! Keeping track of all of the lines of tubing and fittings is quite a mental challenge, and hunching over for hours at a time while handling tiny little slippery pieces is quite the exercise in patience and character building. There is no time for dawdling or complaining, though, since time is of the essence in the narrow weather window we have to work out here. Thankfully the kitchen is keeping us well stocked with delicious food!
 
Until next time,
Beth Orcutt

Gallery 
OIly sheen on the sea surface above a natural oil seep in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Beth Orcutt.
Dr. Laura Lapham and Dr. Beth Orcutt getting ready for another riveting day of connecting miles of plastic tubing for the MIMOSA experiment. Photo by Beth Orcutt.