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2007 Florida Keys Mission
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Mission Log Aug. 9, 2008

Scott Donahue, Chief Scientist
Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Location: Carysfort and Molassas (Key Largo)

Another beautiful day in NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.  After the crazy scramble for SCUBA cylinders yesterday, the team was ready to continue our mission.  Everyone was in high spirits, and confident we will get most, if not all, of our surveys done this year.  We steamed all the way from Key West to Carysfort overnight, which was made more efficient by our friend the Florida Current (Gulf Stream).  Our small boats launched for Carysfort at 0830 with our dive teams, and morning dives began at roughly 0900 hrs.  After finishing our three Carysfort surveys, we recovered the small boats and steamed south to Molassas reef.  There, we surveyed two stations and were back to the ship by dinnertime (1630 hrs).

The science team finds the station marker and Lonny Anderson deploys the central survey rod. (Photo: Kathy Morrow)
Because our next survey location is only a two hour steam away, at a full speed of 10 knots, we implemented our secondary cruise objective, which is to map additional FKNMS resources using multibeam sonar.  The ship’s survey technician, Melody Ovard, and I discussed where FKNMS needed these surveys, and she adjusted the ship’s route accordingly.  Check it out at http://shiptracker.noaa.gov and select “Nancy Foster” from the ship choice drop down menu.  You will see where the ship’s track doubles back on itself a few times, and that was where we were acquiring the multibeam data.

Number of stations surveyed today: 6
Total number of dives today: 18
Total number of dives for the cruise: 33 

Mission Log Aug. 10, 2008

Location:  Sombrero and Looe Key (Middle Keys)

We woke up to a gorgeous sunrise right in front of the lighthouse on Sombrero reef. Everyone was well rested and ready for another day of diving.  We started on Sombrero reef, where we only had 2 stations to survey.  Once this was done, we had a two hour steam to Looe Key.  There we had 3 stations to survey, and some additional “exploring” to do. 

I lament that I cannot join my colleagues underwater ... my role on this cruise is not a diving one.  Even if it were, it wouldn’t be possible to coordinate all the resources needed to support our cruise this year if I were in the water. Because of this, I cannot relay all the special things being seen by our science team so I’ll let them write the mission logs for the duration of the cruise.  This way, everyone can enjoy their interpretation of the day’s events, such as the cool things they saw on their dives, or what it’s like to live on a ship for eight days.  Plus they take some pretty cool photos underwater, which we will include in our mission log submissions.

Number of stations surveyed today: 5
Total number of dives today: 15
Total number of dives for the cruise: 47

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