A Bird! A Salp! An Elevator?

ahhhhhhhhhhh, the beautiful ocean!  This morning I was standing on the bow with my camera (always), a cup of coffee and an EXCELLENT raspberry muffin, watching for sea birds, or fish, or really anything moving around.  The whispering, rolling ocean mirrored the soft grey clouds overhead.  Halfway through the muffin, I noticed something hovering over the surface…it looked like a good sized bird, dipping and gliding, searching for something to eat.  As I hastily juggled my muffin and coffee to grab my camera, something else caught my eye…something coming up out of the ocean.  OH MY GOSH!  What was it?  A whale?! A…a…what?  It came up silently and with barely a ripple.  It took me a moment to realize that it was an elevator released on the overnight JASON dive.

I was struck by the elegant simplicity of the concept of an elevator (see previous blogs for a description of what an elevator is).  Things float.  This elegant simplicity in designing equipment that works is apparent throughout the ship.  The scientists constantly shift between solutions that are high tech or low tech or just plain common sense as they get their work on the deep ocean floor done.  I will take back to the classroom a myriad of examples of creative problem solving and cooperative group work.  I know my students will gain so much more by watching the video footage, looking at the pictures, and listening to the stories I bring back.