RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 3 August 2011

James Cook leaving picturesque Cork on Tuesday 2 August

On Monday, eight of us made our way from Aberdeen, Bristol, and Southampton to Cork, Ireland, in order to join the second leg of JC062. When we arrived at the port on Tuesday morning, the James Cook already awaited us eager to head back out to sea.

Southampton engineers fly the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft

Sulsa UAV

Engineers at the University of Southampton have designed and flown the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft, which could revolutionise the economics of aircraft design.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 31 July 2011

The megacorer

On Sunday morning we continued megacoring and recovered many samples. As soon as the cores were recovered on deck, the team got to work on their analysis.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 30 July 2011

Henry Ruhl, Dave White, Brian Bett (NOC), Gordon Paterson (NHM) prepare the box corer for deployment

Today we deployed the US Naval Electronic Lab (USNEL) Box Corer which collects large samples of sediment from the seabed. The corer is lowered by wire into the sea and its design allows a free flow of water through the frame, which helps with a speedy descent.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 29 July 2011

Dr Denise Smythe-Wright in her famous yellow gear sets to work on CTD samples

Late last night the team deployed a CTD and as soon as it had been recovered several hours later, we set to work collecting and analysing the samples. We are looking at the composition of the phytoplankton that lives in surface waters and how they might be influenced by climate change.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain: RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 28 July 2011

Adrian Bunting, MetO, with the barnacle-encrusted PAP 1 ODAS buoy

Just after 0700 hrs this morning we began recovery of the PAP 1 sensor array. This includes a Met Office ODAS (Ocean Data Acquisition System) buoy.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain: RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 27 July 2011

Ben Poole operates the double barrel capston to aid recovery of the sediment traps

This morning the technical team used an acoustic release system to free the sediment traps that were deployed at the PAP site from the research vessel Celtic Explorer in September 2010. Principal Scientist Henry Ruhl and Marine Technician Corinne Pebody watched from the bridge until the PAP 3 buoys, on the traps, were spotted.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain: RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 26 July 2011

Charlie Main with the first sediment samples

On Monday most folks in the science party started research activity when we reached Goban Spur where we collected water and sediment samples. The sampling tubes on the mega corer fill with sediment as the instrument lands on the sea bed.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain: RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 25 July 2011

Deploying the conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) sensor array

This morning, as we headed for Goban Spur, we were accompanied by a pod of common dolphin. Keeping pace easily with the ship, they jumped and flew through the choppy surface waters.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain: RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 24 July 2011

Securing kit ready for the science programme

Last night the team ensured that kit was secured and ready for the science programme. Sea water bottles were lashed together, boxes stowed carefully and equipment attached to work-benches... knowledge of DIY is handy when you work at sea!