The climbfish have now evolved to cover my life in the US - including very exiting life in downtown Baltimore (aka the wire) and ocean research expeditions with NOAA. I don't promise frequent updates but I will try and cover the most and least exiting times here. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not alone...

The last few days we have kept working in the area around the Deepwater Horizon site. Part of our work has been to collect a repetitive data set from one specific area of known natural gas seeps to enable the researchers here to test and develop gas plume mapping techniques, another part is to cover a large area in an attempt to map the amount of gas that is naturally leaking into the ocean from the ocean floor in the gulf. For this we are using a multibeam sonar EM302, a splitbeam sonar EK60 and a Knudsen sub bottom profiler as the main tools. I will write more in detail about this in time and hopefully have some pictures to show you too.
One of many oil platforms in the area
Today has been a calm day in the gulf, no wind and the sun is shining (every day). I have spend quite some time today just watching the ocean fly by. Even though the ocean is 2000 meters deep and land is far away there is a lot of life out here. Every little patch of floating seagrass and every floating piece of anything is forming shelters for fish, turtles, crabs(!) and there is plenty with jellyfish too. Yesterday we stopped the boat and drifted for a few hours to calibrate the EK60, a lot of small fish gathered around the ship and suddenly there was a huge dolphin fish cruising around the boat. I quickly got some fishing gear in the water and in my mind she was already mine, but it ended like it usually does, 1-0 to the fish. Even the little ones have been hard to catch but I finally got one blurry guy on the camera after stalking them in the killing heat for some time.
Flying fish, turtle and a lonely crab was out for a swim/fly in the nice weather
In the middle of it all this great marine life there are oil platforms scattered here and there. Its hard to say much about the impact of the oil spill from the observations I have made sofar. Its clear that the gulf is bustling with life all around the rigs, but nobody seems to really know how much the environment have been be affected by the oil that leaked out into the deep water. Its feels a little surreal to be here and work where it all happened. Today we passed what possibly was a natural oil slick, this can happen if gas bubbles from the seafloor carry oil all the way to the surface.

ABANDON SHIP! Luckily I had an ice-cream in my hand when the safety
drill alarm went off so was quite pleasant even though the sun was burning.
At sunset a few hours ago there was a call for dolphins surfing at the bow so ran out and got a good show, little cheesy but dolphins always makes me happy - thanks to Maddie who took the video below.


A pod of spinner dolphins came to play with us at sunset

Spinner dolphins surfing at the bow

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