So today was a packing up day. Time to sort stuff out, leave notes to yourself for the future and so on. Packing boxes doesn't really facilitate an interesting story so I'll take this opportunity to talk about what's next.
What's next for the data from this cruise?
Well, it has to be said that although this part, the being at sea with landers etc, might be quite a conspicuous part of the whole thing, the real hard work comes afterwards when deciphering what it all means. Deploying the landers and capturing videos of fish deeper than anyone else is fantastic and a great achievement for everyone in HADEEP but that doesn't actually mean anything. A 'cool' factor only goes so far.
So in the coming months, I'll take a little bit of a sideline while Wing Commander Toyo and Professor Monty Priede will painstakingly work out everything that's going on and extract every piece of information they can from the videos and try to place just what we've found into the wider picture. Big picture stuff.
I guess Toyo will sit and analyse until there's nothing left to analyse. Monty will explain exactly what it means when a fish puts its left fin in, left fin out, in, out, in, out and shake it all about (by that I mean swimming gaits, not the hokey cokey). Speaking of the Hokey Cokey, are we sure that's what it's all about? Are we sure there isn't maybe something else? Seems a bit simple to be 'what it's all about'.
Anyway, going off on a tangent there, whoa sailor.
What's next for HADEEP?
The project itself has a year to go and by all accounts it's going extremely well. The next HADEEP cruise, number 5 no less, will be on the Japanese Research Vessel Tansei-Maru; the Hakuho-Maru's little sister. This time we have more deck time, which isn't hard - 21600 seconds... We will be leaving in March next year for 2 weeks to the Izu-Bonin Trench that runs south of the Japan Trench. It's much deeper with a maximum depth of 9500m.
It will have a completely different dynamic to it than this one. For starters it is small, very small. We have 4 Aberdeen University berths (although I think we're getting that cut back) but we are not allowed to take any students this time as the work will be too fast and furious for any educational purposes apparently. All four of us will be sharing a very small room together. Also, we are not allowed to take any female scientists as there are no female facilities on board.
With that in mind, Toyo and I plan to take the biodiversity-boy Dr. Martin Solan, who instigated a lot of HADEEP, and the fabulous Dr. Dan Mayor who could bring a whole new scientific slant to the project, if not just a little reggae. The work will be much harder too. We should get as many deployments as we can fit into 11 days on station that means we can, like we did on the FS Sonne last year, do a transect of deployments from 6000 to 9500m. Who knows what we'll find there.
What's next for us?
On the 6th of October we dock in Shiogama in northern Japan. There we will unload all the gear onto a truck and get on the train back to Tokyo. The following two days we will spend in the Ocean Research Institute at the University of Tokyo unloading the gear and sorting what is to stay at ORI, what's to go into storage and what needs sending home.
We'll need to sort out the logistics of getting the samples back as well, which is never easy. At the end of the week, Laura and Debbie fly home to Aberdeen, Toyo will go and visit his parents near Hiroshima for a week before going home and me, well no rest for the wicked. I'll be flying to Athens and driving to Pylos to visit the NESTOR institute for particle physics to join the Greek research vessel 'Philia' with its Max Rover ROV to go back out to sea for a week and try and recover a lander I lost off the Bay of Navarino this summer, but that's an entirely different story...
Posted on 5 October 2008
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