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2009 Nancy Foster Cruise
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Gray's Reef Expedition
Log Day 2: June 9, 2009

Getting ready to go
Greg McFall and Mike Mullenix complete construction of their “MUSH” unit (Mobile Underwater Surgical Hammock). Fish surgery will take place in the MUSH.

Success!  The team awoke before sunrise to prepare for diving operations.  The goal was to complete the attachment of the transducer on the hull of the ship (click here to see how this instrument will be used to support research).  Melody Ovard and Greg McFall conducted the dives and with little difficulty, were able to finish securing the transducer.  They conducted a second dive to clear a line that had fouled under the ship during operations the day before.  That was easily accomplished and we were finally able to depart the Charleston area!

And so began our eleven hour transit to Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary…

We took advantage of the transit time to finish setting up the tanks that, we hope, will soon hold lots of fish!  CJ Carroll, Mike Mullenix and Jeff Hart got the system up and running with some help from Tim Olson, the ship’s Chief Engineer.  The ship’s Chief Bosun, Greg Walker, and his team, Gordon Pringle and Ben Nolan, rigged up shading systems for the tanks so the water wouldn’t overheat.  Greg McFall and Mike Mullenix also spent hours fabricating a surgery bath for implanting the acoustic tags in the study subjects.  The final product will allow the fish “surgeons” to keep the fish stabilized during the procedure and in running seawater (that has been oxygenated to minimize stress). 

Laura Kracker was also happy to turn on her transducer and give it a test at one point during our transit.

Getting ready to go
Fish tanks set up and ready for fish. (Photo: Mike Mullenix)
And “Nitrox Bob” worked most of the day finishing the compressor.  Since the compressor system still isn’t quite ready for use, the Gray’s Reef operations team brought 44 SCUBA tanks out to the ship as we headed past Savannah.  This will allow us to dive an extra day before the compressor is needed to refill our tanks.  Beginning tomorrow, we’ll be using close to 40 tanks per day, and we’ll all be glad to be able to refill them right here on the ship with a brand new compressor!  No one will be happier than the three strong fellows that loaded 44 tanks on the R/V Sam Gray. The Divers on board the NANCY FOSTER would like to give a great big thank you to Chad Meckley, Todd Recicar and Roman Kalinowski.

After dinner, the scientists met to discuss what work would be conducted tomorrow and who will go where; it is quite an orchestration, considering there are 13 scientists on board with different ideas, objectives and priorities.  Everyone got their gear together in anticipation of the day to come, and most headed off for a good night’s rest.

Getting ready to go
A beautiful end to our first full day at sea. (Photo: Mike Mullenix)
The survey team, Melody Ovard and Samantha Allen, were making preparations for conducting a multibeam survey to map the ocean floor when they found that the instrument, which collects oceanographic data (temperature, salinity etc.), was not communicating with the computer…that’s the advantage to “over-planning” what can be done on a cruise.  Within minutes, Laura Kracker had the BioSonics fish finder up and running; therefore we were able to collect data ahead of schedule.

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