Less Rocks, More Biology and Art

Today we are sharing some photos with you that do not include rocks. The morning watch folks woke up to a decorated lab (by the night watch team) and signs that celebrated the mid-point of our, so far, successful expedition. That not rock statement above- well, it is not entirely true but there is only one photo from the spectacular and, this time, the very delicate geology of the ocean floor! As a tradition in research cruises, we sent some polystyrene cups in a plastic net to a depth of ~ 3,600 m (~ 12,000 ft). See the crushed cups when they came back up. A beautiful rainbow and a cute little bird added more joy and color to our day. In the last photo, Captain Dave Murline is pointing to a pod of (possibly) pilot whales. Come back again to see amazing photos of the whales breaching the water behind the rainbow.

Festive vibes as we start the second half of the cruise.


More balloons! “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast”. A quote from a TV show that Josh uses to remind Sara not to hurry on the deck!
Small black smoker deposit from the 30th dredge of the cruise at ~3500 m. This represents only a small portion of a geologic feature that allows organisms to thrive in such extreme environments


Charlie draws on his polystyrene cup while Scott displays a piece of art on the foreground.
Cups lined up for a “before descent” photo. Mary’s drawings put us all to shame (bet you cannot tell which ones are hers)!!
Josh attaches the plastic net that holds the cups to the trawl wire. The net was attached ~ 150 m (~495 ft) above the dredge.
Cups crushed by the pressure of ~ 3,600 m of water above them!
Do you know what this bird is called? Post your answers in the comments.
A fishing Captain Dave and the rainbow. “Look, a pod of pilot whales”!