ECOGIG: March '13 cruise Blog Entry #6

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 #6
Last night was one of those moments that makes incredibly demanding trips like these worth it. After a few straight days of endless preparation for the lander experiments, we finally finished preparations on the last lander just before dinner time. Watching the lander being moved into position for deployment in the sunset was a rare and beautiful treat - the pastel pinks and blues of the sky contrasting perfectly against the yellow of our MIMOSA experiments. But the real payoff came a few hours later when we successfully released the lander on the seafloor. Imagine our delight and fist pumping and shouts of joy when those of us in the control room could watch on the deployment system monitors to see our landers on the seafloor in the area where we wanted them. It may sound routine, but my experience has shown me that operations at sea are ever easy, despite extraordinary efforts and skill, so every success is a joyous one. Not only was the weather starting to pick up and potentially threaten our operations, but getting the landers to the seafloor was dependent on a brand new deployment system; we are all very happy to report back on its capabilities.
Now we are in a waiting game with the weather, and every second counts. We are hoping to still use another vehicle to service the landers on the seafloor, to move some experimental packages off of the lander platform and onto the seafloor. Stay tuned. In the meantime, we are collecting water samples for colleagues and writing reports…oh, and eating delicious food.
Until next time,
Beth Orcutt

Dr. Beth Orcutt making final connections on the MIMOSA experiment on one of the ECOGIG landers. Photo by Laura Lapham.
Moving an ECOGIG lander on the RV Pelican at sunset. Photo by Beth Orcutt.