27 February, 2001
-063 51 S. Latitude
07 46 E. Longitude
We arrived at the Davis sea, did some work but did not find the sediment we expected, so in short order we headed out to collect Cindy's mooring. Cindy is a scientist who works in deep ocean studies. She had put a mooring out in the ocean at 3,800 meters deep. On it there are various instruments from sediment traps to current meters. A mooring is a device which is left on the ocean floor for long periods of time, weeks, months or even years. Cindy's mooring had been there for a year collecting data about deep ocean currents. It was a stormy sea when we arrived just before breakfast. Everyone was on edge wondering whether the mooring would respond to the transmitter on board and release the floating balls that would bring it to the surface. I was in the watch room listening to the instruments talk to each other. Then over the radio came the call came: Someone had spotted it. I ran to the bow of the ship just in time to see a string of bright yellow floats appear and disappear behind the stormy waves. Fighting the snow in my eyes I made my way back to the stern (the back) to watch from the deck above. The ship slowly maneuvered next to the string of floats and with grappling hooks they tried several times to catch the mooring. It kept eluding them to the point of almost having it on board hooked to a crane. Then snap! The cable broke and it once again it floated off. The next time they were ready with several types of gear assembled on deck to secure and double secure the line. At one point when they were setting up, a huge wave crashed on deck. Cindy and others went sliding across the deck as we watched helpless from above. It made me glad that they had harnesses on as the strength of the wave on deck could have easily pulled them out to sea. They turned the ship to give better protection and hours later, wet, cold and tired they brought it all on board, yellow floats and instrumentation, as well as chain and cable. Then we sent a CTD to the bottom and, hours later long after I was asleep, it came back up from the floor of the abyssal plain. Tomorrow we head back to the coast, hopefully to visit Davis Station.
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