Yesterday we had a barbecue on the back deck for the 4th of July, only what that meant is that the cook grilled meat out there but we still ate inside. It smelled realllllly good out there (and they did also grill sustainable Alaska salmon), and the funniest thing happened. There is a camera on the back deck that shows what is going on outside, so you can watch the MOCNESS or whatever is happening on the back deck from inside the ship, from various spots. Well someone focused the camera on the grill and everyone gathered around in the lab watching The RV Thompson Cooking Show. Ha! It was pretty funny. I so wish I got a picture of everyone standing there watching, but alas I didn't.
After several days where the sea was smooth as glass, we are starting to see swells again, BUT... the sun came out!!! It is so incredibly gorgeous. I ran outside yesterday when I first saw it even just for an hour, and said, "What's that flaming ball of fire in the sky?!" Today it came out for hours, but I learned something from the Captain: The fog and the wind don't like eachother. So when it's grey and you can't differentiate sea from sky the ride is smoother. When it's sunny, the wind picks up. So there ya go - you learn something new every day. Here are a few pics from yesterday.
Casey holds a handheld flare in our "4th of July pyrotechnics demonstration."
Second Mate Eric Haroldson sets off a flare (he's the one from Gumby Contest #2).
And then the flare goes in a bucket, where it continues to smoke and dance around.
Capt John and Third Mate Dave look at the mess they have to clean up!
Doesn't the Multi-Core look pretty in this light? It was actually at or after sunset, and it was grey but the lighting in photos made the sky bluish.
Yesterday I spent time talking to Alexei Pinchuk, a marine biologist who works at University of Alaska-Fairbanks in Seward, about his cool work on zooplankton (don't tune out - go look at the photos from the other day's blog!). He mostly works on krill and on copepods and amphipods, which are medium to large crustaceous (is that a word?) zooplankton.
He incubates krill from eggs in... a refrigerator! Ha. I think that's so funny. Normally you think of heat lamps when you think of incubators, but since they live in such cold seawater, the fridge does the trick.
Alexei is orginally from Russia (St. Petersburg) and he works nights so I hadn't had as much chance to talk to him so I really enjoyed seeing his pics from Russia, and talking and seeing him do his thing. He deploys the MOCNESS at night. This is Lorelei, an undergrad, and Alexei getting set up.
Here they are about to put it in the water.
After retrieving it back on board, they spray down the MOCNESS net mesh into the "codends" (at the end of the nets). Here, Alexei is pouring the goodies - zooplankton - into smaller containers.
They caught a jellyfish in the MOCNESS last night! This one was a Sea Nettle (Chrysaora sp.) rather than a Lion's Mane we got earlier on the trip.
These copepods fluoresced blue when you shook the codend! The pic is totally out of focus but you can see the glowing inside the codend.