Sunday, September 8, 2013

All Aboard

We remained busy during the transit from Samoa to 
Papua New Guinea, preparing for the start of data 
acquisition.  Clear but windy skies kept us on schedule 
while completing tasks near the bottom of our 'must-do' 
lists.  Here you see the 2 GI airguns on the fantail, tied 
down and ready.  They will be towed in tandem, 2 meters 
below the sea surface, 25 m behind the ship to provide 
the acoustic source during our seismic surveys for IODP 
drill sites.

We arrived on time at Alotau, Papua New Guinea in 
the early hours of Sept 8.  Low clouds provided a dramatic 
cover to the lush mountainsides on both sides of the 
estuary.  We dropped anchor 300 m off the main dock 
of this small town and were soon greeted by the pilot 
boat bringing customs agents aboard for the requisite 
checking in.  Paperwork and passports passing back 
and forth kept the Captain busy with a full complement 
of PNG officials in the ship's library.  The pilot returned 
to shore and came back with a boatload of smiling faces.  
Luggage was handed up to Revelle's main deck and 
each joining member of cruise RR1313 then climbed 
aboard.  Seen here are Ch. Scientist Yair Rosenthal 
in front, with the remaining Science Party members behind.  
All are rested to various degrees after long journeys to 
this eastern tip of PNG.

We weighed anchor at 1pm and began a short echosounder 
survey along the center off the Alotau estuary.  An attractive 
coring target was identified, we circled back for an intersecting 
profile across it, called the bridge, and by 4pm we were raising 
our first seabed sample.  Seen here is the first such effort - a 
successful MultiCore containing 8 separate cores of the topmost 
sediment, each several 10's of cm long.  Next we recovered a 
15 ft gravity core, and that was followed by a 40 ft piston core 
that when recovered was lashed to the starboard rail at 2am 
the next morning. 

It's been a crash course for some of the newcomers in the handling of marine cores.  Despite the hour, the unfamiliar setting, and the long journeys to get here, the mood is satisfied fatigue and interest in what lays ahead.  After a CTD cast to measure properties of the water column, we're off to deeper water. ---- Greg Mountain