For background on the EPR Chronicles, see this post. The expedition was also recorded online at the Field Museum during this time (before science blogs!) and includes dispatches, videos and photos!
Wednesday 11/19/03 3:30 am
I love the warm winds of the tropical ocean. They caress me & run their invisible fingers me through my hair. reminds me of being in Linda’s arms. I can close my eyes while laying on the deck at midnight watching stars and it feels like she is there with me. Tonight I saw the Leonids, an annual meteor shower sometime in mid November. There were a few good ones, but it was sparse. I was reminded of the first meteor shower Linda & I saw together when we lived in Monterey & drove out to Carmel Valley to try & find sky not covered in fog. It was cold but was spectacular. Tonight was very clear, no cloud in sight for kilometers. It seemed like every star that exists in the universe was visible, like when we were sleeping in our car out in Utah on a Summer road trip.
We are in transit now to 12-13 N where there is known hydrothermal activity. 10 44′ N &11 24′ N didn’t yield much in the way of chimneys & black smokers but we managed to get some specimens & did find evidence of past & present venting. Most interesting were these mucus mats that were quite prevalent in fissures & cracks. They are likely to be secretions of waste products by bacteria. There are different types of bacteria living in there as well as a diversity of different types of polychaetes & copepods. I aslo found a nematode but we lack the toold necessary to preserve & identify it.
But there were no shortage of this mucus around both on the seafloor & in our lab! We spent 3 nights going through mucus & picking out the worms & copepods & polynoid scales. We believe to have undescribed species in the mats. Finally got two crabs today as well. Stepháne & Todd made some crab & amphipod traps for the site we are traveling to. Stepháne has been to this site before & I think he said he had his 1st dive here 7 years ago. He says we will get a lot of good critters here.