Today we have been moored in Bantry Bay as the pelagic team (Pelagic Ecology Research Group [PERG], University of St Andrews) have been calibrating the echosounder on the vessel (EK60). This is a device which uses sound to locate and quantify the amount of animals living within the water column. The calibration uses a tungsten sphere hung under the vessel on fishing line, the team had to get the ball within the “view” of the echosounder, and then different frequencies are fired at the sphere allowing the team to calibrate the echosounder. The PERG team have been up since 05.00 am working on the calibration and are still up now as I write this at 20.10!!
At 16.00 this afternoon both Andy Brierley (PERG) and Christian Wilson left the vessel via a pilot boat. Christian and Andy were on the cruise for the first few days as Andy was onboard to assist with the calibration, and Christian to assist in setting up the Olex display (this shows the contours of the seabed in 3D allowing for biologists to decide where to deploy their gear). We did however get a new addition as James Hawkins joined the vessel to replace Christian Wilson.
Tomorrow we steam to the first of the ECOMAR stations. We will be listening for whales along the way and testing some equipment but we are looking to arrive at the mid-Atlantic Ridge on Wednesday morning.
Nicola King 15 July 2007
ECOMAR research fellow