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RRS James Cook cruise 062 – Final blog

Dolphins accompanying the James Cook on her way back to Falmouth (courtesy of Leighton Rolley)

Our cruise to the PAP site has finally come to an end and after a successful couple of days at the Porcupine Seabight the James Cook steamed back to Falmouth. Although everyone was excited by the prospect of fresh fruit, crunchy vegetables, and yes, family and friends too, the joy of returning to “normality” is always accompanied by some sadness.

Cruise JR269A, west of Svalbard – 31 August 2011

SYSIF being deployed

Up in the Artic, at this time of the year, there are still 24 hours of light. It is such a weird sensation arriving to your cabin at 4 am (after some hours looking at seismic lines, maps of the seafloor, and images of bubble plumes) and having to close the window blind!

RRS James Clark Ross Cruise JR269A – 30 August 2011

Robot carrying seismic recorder is launched towards the seabed

Cruise JR269A, west of Svalbard: Understanding gas escape from the ocean floor

Methane hydrate is formed from methane and water at high pressures and low temperatures, both of which are found at the bottom of the deep ocean.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 25 August 2011

A translucent sea cucumber (Peniagone sp.)

Ahoy, everyone! A couple of days ago, we finally left the Porcupine Abyssal Plain after a very successful sampling regime of megacoring, trawling, and the deployment of various other instruments over the past few weeks.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 19 August 2011

Alan Jamieson with one of his beloved deep-sea fish

Ahoy, everyone! Today, you are in for a treat. As you know already, we are deploying a whole range of instruments to get an idea about what type of creatures live at about 4,800 metres depth here at the PAP site.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 18 August 2011

Stuart, Dan, and Chrysula waiting for the megacore

Quite a few of the samples being brought up from the deep are being preserved in ethanol for DNA analysis when we’re back on land.

Different species of sea cucumbers

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 17 August 2011

Nina, Alex, Lenka, Colette and Zan being very excited about a bucket full of deep-sea creatures

The days when we take the trawl samples seem to be a somewhat confusing mixture of sleeplessness, excitement and a lot of hard work! For me, these trawls are really the reason I’ve been out here for the last two weeks as I gather samples of abyssal fish for my PhD.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 14 August 2011

The box corer full of mud

The deep sea is a reservoir of unknown biodiversity, particularly among invertebrates living inside the mud with many species new to science and in many ways rivalling the discovery of new insect species in rainforests.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 11 August 2011

The RRS James Cook leaving Cork, Ireland

An entry from Alexander Hart our Irish Foreign Vessel Observer.

It’s my responsibility to ensure that any research during JC062 that takes place in Irish waters (i.e., at Goban Spur) is done in an open way.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 9 August 2011

OTSB (Otter Trawl Semi Balloon) deployment

It’s 6 o’clock in the morning and the entire science party is dressed in brightly coloured waterproofs, steel-capped boots, and hard hats, waiting impatiently in the hanger.