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August 20, 2012. The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed

Gray water and gray skies.

Sunday was wavy and rainy. We have left Louisiana waters and reentered Texas coastal waters. The hypoxia and low oxygen are confined to the eastern Louisiana shelf. The observations collected in the Louisiana Bight near Grand Isle and the Southwest Pass showed a very stable midwater oxygen low.
Now back in Texas waters, the seas are calm, it is sunny, and warm. Salinities are greater than 36 indicating offshore waters flowing upcoast from south Texas. I expect to sample down to Matagorda Texas, maybe to Port O’Connor. Then return to port in Galveston by mid-day Tuesday (tomorrow).

The Green Flash. The atmospheric phenomenon known as the Green Flash occurs at sunset when seas are calm, stable atmosphere, and clear. On the 25+ cruises I have conducted, I have seen it only once. The effect lasts only a few seconds, just as the sun disappears under the horizon. It appears as green due to scattering of longer wavelengths (red, yellow) in the atmosphere. One of the problems of seeing the flash is that when trying to observe it, one looks directly at  the setting sun. This tends to imprint the sun on the eye’s retina. Therefore, it is hard to tell the difference between the flash and a lasting impression on the retina. In any case, the Captain, Piers, and I all witnessed the flash on Thursday evening, I am told some one has a video. Haven’t seen it yet. But we’ll post it when we return and you decide for yourself what it is we saw.
I’m sitting on a bar stool. My feet are on a plastic tub.  I’m typing on the smallest computer on the ship. Every square inch of counter space is covered with something. There are 14  computer screens in the lab comingling with suction pumps, vials, flasks, cups, energy drinks, radios, power boxes and cables.  Cables are everywhere – going everywhere, disappearing through holes in the walls and ceilings.  The dual diesel engines are humming and the mp3’s are keeping the beat.  Galley smells mean lunch (my dinner) is not far away.   We just did a quick CTD station. Ten minutes start to finish. We all know our parts now and there is no wasted movements. We don’t need to talk.  It’s a well-oiled machine now.

The Green Flash. The atmospheric phenomenon known as the Green Flash occurs at sunset when seas are calm, stable atmosphere, and clear. On the 25+ cruises I have conducted, I have seen it only once. The effect lasts only a few seconds, just as the sun disappears under the horizon. It appears as green due to scattering of longer wavelengths (red, yellow) in the atmosphere. One of the problems of seeing the flash is that when trying to observe it, one looks directly at  the setting sun. This tends to imprint the sun on the eye’s retina. Therefore, it is hard to tell the difference between the flash and a lasting impression on the retina. In any case, the Captain, Piers, and I all witnessed the flash on Thursday evening, I am told some one has a video. Haven’t seen it yet. But we’ll post it when we return and you decide for yourself what it is we saw.

Steve DiMarco, Chief Scientist

I’m sitting on a bar stool. My feet are on a plastic tub.  I’m typing on the smallest computer on the ship. Every square inch of counter space is covered with something. There are 14  computer screens in the lab comingling with suction pumps, vials, flasks, cups, energy drinks, radios, power boxes and cables.  Cables are everywhere – going everywhere, disappearing through holes in the walls and ceilings.  The dual diesel engines are humming and the mp3’s are keeping the beat.  Galley smells mean lunch (my dinner) is not far away.   We just did a quick CTD station. Ten minutes start to finish. We all know our parts now and there is no wasted movements. We don’t need to talk.  It’s a well-oiled machine now.

Lauren squinted at her water sample.  “I  can see copapods” she said.  Her eyes are better than mine.

Eddie Webb from GERG at mealtime.

Piers has finished computing DO concentration and is happily deleting old email.  We are running south along the Texas  coast close enough to catch cell phone signals.  Makes it easy to keep up on news and send brief messages home.  It’s that special time of the day when both shifts are up for a meal.

I like going to sea. Some say it’s all those positive ions.  It might be.  But it’s also being part of a team.  The ship’s  crew is top notch too.  The get us on station and off station with a minimum of delay.  Also.  I still have all my fingers and toes.

Matt Howard

Gray water and gray skies.