Christina Ramirez's Blog

Monday, July 28, 2014
ROPOS on deck
VISIONS 14 Movie Trailer Icon

Coming soon to a network near you!  Image credit: Christina Ramirez, University of Washington, V14.

ROCLS with 4.7 km of Extension Cable

ROCLS with 4.7 km of extension cable, which was laid on Axial, from Primary Node PN3B to the Central Caldera.  Photo credit: Christina Ramirez, University of Washington, V14.

28 July 2014

Things are winding down on the cruise.  We have two more stops before we head back to Newport.  This is when it becomes bittersweet.  I’m happy to see land, because honestly, it’s hard not having an easily accessible link to the outside world.  Yet, I will miss being out on the open ocean.  I feel at peace when I am here.  For someone being born and raised in land locked areas, I never thought the ocean would be my happy place.  

27 July 2014

Today was a busy day.  Helped the crew with lemons on ROPOS but the highlight was staying up until 5am to see footage of the two hydrothermal vents, Mushroom and Inferno.  They are so beautiful.  The tubeworms are so healthy and abundant all around.  There are several little chimneys forming but there is a more prominent one on the side where Cam HD is placed so it will be nice to see that footage when it becomes live and available in the future.  I also liked seeing the geology in this area, also.  So many large pillow basalts everywhere.  It’s amazing how these large lava flows form such pretty structures.  Very cool!

26 July 2014

It was a good day!  Stayed pretty busy with my project.  Since the release of my trailer I have started working on the full-length movie.  Well, not you’re typical full-length movie but hopefully a good 5-10 min one.  Of course still working on the general video also.  I have so much footage to go through.

At night, Krista and I were watching a school of fish swimming all around the ship and then suddenly we saw deep red squid pop out of the ocean.  She saw three of them but I wasn’t fast enough and only saw two.  That was pretty cool to see especially since it was the only sea life we have seen from the surface this whole trip.  I always expect some large life to just appear when out on the bow.

25 July 2014

So, today I was able to sleep in a little since no operations were happening because of the large waves.  On top of the General audience video that I’ve been working on, I’ve been making a sort of movie trailer for this project.  It has been fun getting it all together and having a little story line for this upcoming blockbuster!  Learning some of the common names for the instruments we are deploying is fun and kind of gives each instrument a character.  ROPOS of course is the leader.  This massive robot can lift thousands of pounds, and serves and protects the instruments, all while not asking a thing.  Maybe some oil to quench its thirst and a little shut eye every now and again.  BACKBONE is the massive extension cable that is 4.7 km long!  This mammoth will send and receive messages from all over the area.  It’s the life link to many other instruments.
Won’t tell too many details.  You’ll have to wait ‘til the trailer comes out!
Over and out.

23 July 2014

Wednesday.  Only one week left. :-(  It’s funny how time flies when you are on the ship.  Today is my last day of A-term Summer quarter for me!  I was also taking 2 other classes while I was onboard.  I will have to say it’s been a struggle.  All students have a four-hour watch, then we meet for two hours and listen to various presenters on the ship about their research and how they became to be a part of the R/V Thompson.  These talks are so interesting and sometimes hilarious.  After, I typically take photos for our project or read texts for one of my classes.  So it’s been a busy 10 days for me.  But, all is over now and I can focus 100% on the ship and all the exciting science we are doing.  Woohoo!  I have been going out on the bow several times today to give me strength to power through these last papers.  The ocean is invigorating and Deb Kelley said once to me that it’s rejuvenating.  So true!  The winds have picked up and the waves have gotten bigger.  I stand on the highest deck and listen to the waves and the wind.  Scanning the ocean you realize that you are just one little piece to this massive earth.  There are so many processes happening under those waves, yet, so many people in the world are clueless.  That’s why I love the OOI project; it will allow people to be more aware and educated about our oceans.  There are times where I feel possessive and want to hide it because someone will always want to exploit the ocean.  Then I realize that knowledge is the only thing that will protect it.  Oh, the thoughts!

19 July 2014

Hello from the Northeast Pacific Ocean!

Today was a pretty busy day!   We sent ROPOS back down to do some work with ROCLS. My shift was from 8am-12pm so I was able to take pics of its descent. I think I'm the only one who enjoys watching ROPOS ascend/descend.  There is always zooplankton zooming past the screen. It's amazing how abundant they are at depth. Sometimes we get lucky and see larger life like the Big Red Jelly. I have to be quick to capture the photos on the logging system because organisms go by so fast.

Our presenter for the day for the student meeting was Debbie Kelley. Such an interesting talk about hydrothermal vents and geology. Loved the videos and pictures she had. Something interesting that caught my attention were the types of vents that are off axis.  One acts like a type of intake vent that goes below the earth’s crust and another that exhausts out into the ocean. Something that I would like to delve into deeper and check the biology that is present at these two vents.  Interesting science!

I've been working on a project that Krista and I have planned. It's a general overview of VISIONS '14 and what life and science looks like on a cruise of this magnitude. Many people wonder what it's like to live on a ship and what we actually do for science. We want to show the general audience that science is fun and to appeal to future scientists.  We will have clips of the different operations.  Today we took a tour of the engine room and learned what the crew does to keep us running with electricity, potable water, refrigeration and of course taking care of our waste needs.  It's extremely loud down there!

Lastly, we had a science meeting with everyone to discuss the upcoming plans of laying all the instrumentation and cables down on the bottom. So much to do still. Let's hope for better weather.

Oh yeah and also, It’s my Dad’s birthday.  So want to send a shout out to him and wish him a Happy Birthday, Love you Dad!

That's it for today.


15 July 2014

Today was much better.  The queasiness of my stomach has left.  My watch started at 0800 and I was the photo logger for ROPOS operations.  It was exciting to see the bottom of Axial Seamount.  The pillow basalts were everywhere and furnished an excellent home for brittle stars, worms, and crabs.  It was impressive to see ROPOS in action.  The ability of the pilots to perform so many tasks remotely was awe-inspiring.   It will be fun to see more of the bottom of the ocean throughout the cruise; especially the hydrothermal vents.   ROPOS performed many cable tasks throughout the day and was able to take a break and come back to the boat.  The ease of bringing it back on deck was amazing.  Typically with other instruments it takes several people to make sure they get on board safely.  The ROPOS crane uses a magnet to keep it in place and utilizes only a couple of people to safely get it on board.  It was awesome.

That’s it for today.  Hope all is well with everyone on shore!


13 July 2014

First Day in Open Ocean

So, today has been an interesting day.  We turned towards Axial Seamount at approximately 2:30 am.  Onto the open ocean, woohoo!  Since I am in the forward berthing areas, I am fortunate enough to hear the waves crash into the stoic R/V Thompson.  What a great way to be shaken and lulled to sleep.  LOL! 
Being that this was my second time sailing on the beautiful Thompson, I thought to myself, “I don’t need any Dramamine; I’ve got this.”  Ha ha.  So, I got another great experience: taking my first motion sickness pill ever in my life.  I didn’t become as sick as some of my fellow students, but oh, the queasiness of my stomach.  After a breakfast of crackers and Ginger Ale and, finally, a good nap, I feel like I am alive again! 
We are to be on Axial around 0200 but my work watch does not start until 0800.  So, for now I leave you with some beautiful pictures and bid everyone a good day.