5 weeks 1 day
Arrival at the Site!
Submitted by Joe Monaco on Tue, 06/30/2009 - 21:18
At midnight last evening we arrived at our destination out over the Juan de Fuca plate. My cabin mate and I went out at 1:00 a.m. to watch the piping operation get under way. The crew worked like a piece of machinery as they hoisted strings of pipe high up into the derrick and then lowered them down toward the sea floor. The machinery that they work with is huge, heavy, and amazing. Each worker has a job to do and it is all coordinated under dangerous conditions. It took all night to finally reach the sea floor, 2660 m, beneath the ocean surface. That's a long way down! Around noon time today we watched on monitors as the crew succeded in getting the pipe into a small hole by manuevering the ship with the dynamic positioning system. I still cannot get over how skilled these workers are. Cement was poured down the pipe and into the hole to seal it. The ship then manuevered about 30 feet over to the second hole all the while dragging the extended pipe. Success with the second hole penetration was achieved about 6:30 p.m. this evening. Cementing operations will begin shortly.
During the day, we got to look at foraminiferas under the microscope in the labs that the paleontologists use during scientific legs. We took our hand at trying to identify a particular species and how it is used in studying past climates.