Boring is good, & then some

We’ve ironed out all the wrinkles from our first two SUESI tow lines, with extra starch, leading to a nearly perfectly executed performance on our northern profile (except for a few nail biting run-ins with extremely steep topography that left me in a panic; SUESI dropped down to just 25 meters above the seafloor at one point, which may seem like a lot, but it most certainly is not and scared me half to death). An added bonus, we are ahead of schedule. It doesn’t hurt that the seas have been flat with almost no wind over the last two days.

To make use of some of the extra science time we have accrued, we are collecting a handful of crossing profiles along a relatively flat portion of the fore-arc seafloor. After the prior close encounter, I was in no mood for any more drama. Plus, one of the crossing lines is very near to site U1519 from IODP drilling expeditions 372/375, which should complement those suite of data nicely.

Map of OBEM stations (green circles), main SUESI tow (black line), and newly added crossing tows (blue lines). 

We will be done towing in about eight hours, then begin OBEM recoveries for the second to last time. The most difficult aspects of the survey operations are now nearly completed, let’s hope things settle down a bit for the remainder of our voyage.

For your viewing pleasure, a photo of today’s sunset, and an even brighter night sky. In the words of one Kiwi fisherman, ‘cool bananas’!