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2008 Cordell Bank Mission
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Mission Blog: Sept. 29, 2009

Chelsea Lowes, Onboard Cruise Log Coordinator
Knauss Sea Grant Fellow, NOAA Ecosystem Research Program

Today was our last full day on the water, so all aspects of the mission were wrapped up.  Diving operations were completed, and a final trip was made to retrieve the larval fish traps set out earlier in the week.  Back on deck, scientists removed all of the mesh from the traps and looked over every inch carefully to make sure nothing was overlooked in the folds.  The resulting sample contained a few shrimp and tiny filefish, unfortunately not the snapper species we were looking for. 

Snorkeler looking up through schooling fish.
Divemaster Jenny Vander Pluym and large barrel sponge. (Photo: NOAA CCFHR)
We had gorgeous weather most of the day, but by afternoon, the color of the clouds started to turn more and more ominous.  Some people saw waterspouts off on the horizon.  After dinner most of the science crew gathered to watch the sun go down.  It was quite beautiful with the thunderstorm clouds surrounding us!  We also watched dolphin around the boat.  When the drop-camera operations are underway, the light attracts fish, the fish attract dolphin, and the dolphin attract scientists and crew!
This evening and into the early morning drop-camera operations were finished, another method used to groundtruth the composition of the seafloor.  Don Field, Beth West, and John Burke pushed through a final set of target sites after a full day of diving.  Thanks to the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster crew for their help in completing these operations.  The ship will arrive in Key West by early morning tomorrow.

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