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August 16, 2012. Day 2: Hypoxia Blog

We are currently south of Sabine Bank and heading to Louisiana coastal waters. We have completed 17 stations and have found no hypoxia. Sea state is very good at 1-2 ft chop, wind is still, and it is hot on the deck. We did a series of stations along Galveston island to look for the Karenia Brevisplankton that caused the harmful algal bloom last weekend. We did not see K. Brevis in any of the samples we collected.

We also have seen NO hypoxia in any of the stations visited off of Texas. Oceanic conditions are consistent with the Texas Coastal Current flowing toward Louisiana (typical of summertime). The Texas coastal waters are very salty compared to other times of the year. Our numerical simulation done on shore indicates that we may now be entering waters with depleted oxygen. Indeed, the last station we did showed a 25% decrease at the bottom in oxygen concentration.

We are hoping weather conditions stay good for the next few days.

Steve DiMarco, Chief Scientist


Day 2 from student perspective — It is hot!  You cannot escape the heat.  Our room is a constant 80 degrees at night and we have about 3 fans blowing to cool it off.  Fun of sailing in August on a large aluminum catamaran.

There are three cool spots on the boat (meaning two AC vents together – the bridge, the galley under the TV, and in the science lab.  Walking around, you often see small groups huddled under these three places.

Ruth Mullins-Perry and her favorite Acrobat.

Other than the heat, the cruise is great.  Calm seas … no major seasickness … yet from anyone onboard.  The students were joking that this is the best shape we have seen DiMarco in on any cruise.

The first Acrobat deployment was yesterday afternoon and we had attached a camera to the instrument cage.  I will try and edit a short video of the Acrobat going in the water and post it.  Visibility is great.  It feels like we are sailing down in blue waters of Mexico.  The first track was pretty slow on the science.  In a nutshell, the water column had same temperature, salinity, and plenty of oxygen from surface to bottom.  Basically, it is August – hot, dry, and no freshwater on the TX shelf.

The second Acrobat line was late last night.  Currently, I am the only regular Acrobat driver so I had to stay up and help deploy the Acrobat with the night shift.  The second line was about as eventful as the first.  But, tomorrow should be more promising as we move closer to Mississippi River.
Acrobat pictures and video to come!

On the lighter side,  we are having Thanksgiving dinner tonight!  My fellow day shifter, Emma, and I look forward to this meal every cruise.  Turkey, stuffing, the works.  So, for those who think we eat dehydrated food, fake veggies, or boxed meals think again!  Tina is a fantastic cook and everything is fresh!  Meals are 3 times a day: 600am, Noon, 600pm.  I rarely wake up for breakfast and lunch is actually a dinner-type meal for night shift, so I usually stick to normal breakfast of oatmeal or fruit smoothie.

We will be posting pictures at the first fuel stop tomorrow or early Saturday.

And if you have questions or comments, please post on our blog!  We would love to answer them about anything science or living on the Manta.

Stay cool and enjoy your AC’s – we are definitely jealous ;)
Until next time science warriors …
Ruth Mullins-Perry