Thursday, August 11, 2011

Where are we now??

We have been transiting for 4 full days, have crossed the Gulf Stream, and are now almost 895 miles away from Woods Hole! We are now fully in the Sargasso sea! The water is much warmer here - 80 degrees Fahrenheit vs 67 degrees in Woods Hole. It is deeper, too, since we are off the continental shelf. The current depth is about 5.3km - 3.29 miles! That is deep enough to fit 13.5 Empire State buildings end to end from the sea floor to the surface.

This figure shows the ship's current location and the surrounding sea surface temperatures. The black dots on the map show our anticipated science stations - the first one is about 65 miles from here! Figure - Peter Wiebe
The visible sea life has changed, too. Clumps of Sargassum, a floating seaweed, are frequent, as well as seabirds such as Herald Petrels, Black-Capped Petrels, and White-tailed Tropicbirds! This morning we were lucky enough to see eight Sperm whales!
A White-tailed Tropicbird flying above the ship - Photo Tim White
This evening we will reach our first station and then will begin to head north. I think we are all excited to get into the full research routine!
Calm seas today!

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