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  1. Hey Ben,

    4th graders and I are just checking in on you. I hope the trip is going well so far. We have been reading a book about some kids on a yacht in the Pacific. It is called “Stranded” and well, you probably don’t want to know what it is about until you get back. Hope all is well. Uncle Bill

    1. Thanks, Bill! We’re hoping to make the blog as accessible as possible – let me know what you think! We also have a Twitter account, @cocos_cruise, which has some fun pictures that are taken on a daily basis by the science party. Everything is great at sea! Currently we are at 6°39N and 100°40W transiting to ~ 2°15N and 100°45W where the Cocos-Nazca spreading center tip is located!

      1. Hi, Sounds great. 4th graders are wondering what kind of marine life have you seen. We will soon be reading about different types of sea turtles and are curious if you have seen any and what species they are? We’ll check in again tomorrow. Safe voyage. 4th grade Yoopers.

        1. Hi there 4th grade Yoopers! We’ve seen all sorts of wild life. Unfortunately it’s difficult to get good photos of everything we see. In the ‘Multimedia’ page you will find a nice picture of three dolphin breaching the surface of the ocean right beside the boat. It’s not uncommon to see them on a daily basis. We’ve also seen plenty of flying fish (they actually do fly!), squid, and tuna (yellow fin)! We did see sea turtle as we were leaving port in Mexico. I’ll find out whether anyone got a nice photo – I believe they were logger head.

  2. Hi, We are checking in on your progress. We were interested in your picture and it happens “dolphin” is one of our /ph/ words on our spelling list this week. Logger head turtles are one of the types of turtles we will be learning about in the near future. A first question we are curious about is “What is your expedition looking for?” A second is, “what is it like being at sea?” ” Have you been seasick?” A third question is, “how do you know when you have found the Nazca spreading area you are looking for? What does it look like? How deep is it? How is it studied?” You don’t have to answer all of these questions at one time. Hopefully, all is going well for everyone. 4th Grade Yoopers

    1. Hi there, 4th Grade Yoopers!

      The goals of this expedition are two-fold. Our first goal is to map the seafloor. By doing this we can work out what the seafloor looks like and maybe figure out how the seafloor was created. Another goal is to sample rocks from the bottom of the ocean. The ocean is covered with thousands of volcanoes. These volcanoes sometimes spew out lava. If we’re lucky, we are able to sample a piece of this lava (cools to become a rock). What the lava is made of provides useful information that allows us to understand how the volcanoes work.

      Being at sea really isn’t all that different from being on land. There is a full kitchen and dining room full of delicious food (and CANDY!), an entertainment room full of movies and TV shows, a gym, a laundry room, a library. It really is kind of like living in a small city in the middle of the ocean. The ship is constantly making noise – lots of buzzing, hissing, beeping. We will post lots of photos of the ship this afternoon!

      So far mother nature has been kind and the seas have been nice, so I have not been seasick….yet. Sometimes the ship moves around a lot making walking really hard!

      The location of the Cocos-Nazca spreading center has been known since the 1960s, so finding the area of interest is kind of like typing in directions to a local restaurant. What is not known is what this region of the seafloor actually LOOKS like. We do know that the western end is really really deep, almost 6,000 meters below the surface of the ocean (60 football fields!) and we know that it is covered in volcanoes but we do not fully understand the details.

      We will map the seafloor, that is to say understand what it looks like in detail, using an echosounder. Sound waves travel through the ocean and bounce off the ocean floor and the time it takes the sound waves to make it back to the ship tells us how deep the ocean is in that exact spot. The longer it takes for sound to travel back to the ship, the deeper the water is. We get rocks from the seafloor using a dredge. A dredge is a HUGE metal basket that we lower all the way down to the bottom of the ocean. Once there, we drag the dredge across the ocean floor picking up all kinds of rocks. When the dredge is back on the boat, we describe and catalog the rocks.

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