Day 2 (July 13, 2012)
We reached the end of the P transect and turned to run an eastward transect along slope in about 120-130 m water depth. The idea is to run a line across the head region of the DeSoto Canyon at the depth were the last lowstand of sea level was positioned. We are looking for possible lowstand shorelines or nearshore feature that could support benthic habitats. Other areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico preserved structures, such as the Stick Grounds, off Tampa Bay at this depth.
One of the challenges of deep tow work is managing the towfish altitude off the bottom. During the turn upslope from the end of the P transect to run the alongslope transect line, the fish was dropping fast. A quick response by the watchstanders brought it up quickly – but without time to guide the level wrapping – (which we have to do by hand) - our winch cable wrapping now looked a bit like a ball of string. Sooner or later we would need to run into deep water to let the cable out and get the wraps corrected.
Watchstanders hard at work watching.
First volunteer is Ryan Turnbull, Senior, Florida State University
“Started out with the 4 am to 8am shift. Brought in a lot of cable, it got surprisingly shallow real quick (6 m)! Good reactions from Alex. Had French toast from Patrick and started a new book, “Toys” by James Patterson. Fixed the starboard side winch with Cap’n Boomer and Shane. Sport fishing vessel came really close and saw young dolphin riding the bow. Dinner time now, Spaghetti! Yum! Gonna take a ride offshore to let out cable and winch in it properly. The sea is rough, 3-4 ft seas with strong winds. -- Ryan”