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Tangaroa Voyage Blog #3 One week at sea

20 months ago by Katie Woods and Weiwei Wang

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Weiwei Wang and Katie Woods are two PhD students from Victoria University of Wellington who will blogging about their first ever voyage on the research vessel Tangaroa. 

We didn’t realise how fortunate we had been with the weather up until today! It was a struggle to make it up the four flights of stairs from our cabin to the Bridge without bouncing off the walls.

Wind speeds were reaching 40 knots and with it being dark outside, it was hard to see the wildness of the waves. We could hear and feel it though!

On this particular shift, no instruments were being deployed or recovered. We were only surveying the instruments we had deployed in the past few days off the coast of Gisborne.

To deploy, the ship stops at a planned site position and a crane is used to lower the instrument in the water. Once it has been released, it sinks to the seafloor. Because of ocean currents, it is unlikely that the instrument settles in the planned position.

We find a more accurate location by sailing in a large circle around the planned position. At certain points round the circle, the technicians send signals to the instrument to find the distance between the ship and the instrument.
It is important to have an accurate location because they will need to be recovered in future years and any analysis using data recorded by them requires a correct position.

We are still adapting to the midnight to noon shifts and our sea sickness mediation makes us very thirsty and sleepy. Hopefully the latter effect helps with the wild waves when we try to go to sleep this afternoon. Until now we did not know the purpose of the loose wooden boards in our wardrobes, they are actually to stop us from falling out of bed during the night! Perhaps we should start using them!

By beginning work during the night, we sometimes witness beautiful sunrises and spot whales, dolphins and albatross. A week into the voyage we have started to enjoy staying in the ship and find the life at sea quite peaceful. Unlike our daily life on university campus, we do not have to worry a lot about, instead we just do our duty, focusing on recording the details of our shift’s events.

We have met a lot of new people and keep learning more about each other. Everyone onboard is very nice, talented, knowledgeable, experienced and some make really yummy cakes (we may or may not be eating these for breakfast…).

There is one week left for this voyage, but we feel like we’ve only been at sea a couple of days. One week left is too short! But, we will enjoy!

Read there previous blog here