April 16, 2021
Ariana Patterson, Northeastern University
27°34.343’ N 33°10.407’ W
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Wind from the south at Beaufort Force 3, moderate cloud cover and warm
Description of location
Gulf of Mexico, light traffic from other ships and open blue water
After completing our final COVID tests, we left dock in Tampa Bay and began our track out into the Gulf of Mexico and up the United States’ eastern coast. We got a great send off from a few of the crew of a research vessel docked near us and some of Laurens’ family. We started off under just the main engine, then set the mainstays’l and the forestays’l as we moved farther out into the bay.
Later on we were also able to set the mains’l and the jib and do a bit of sailing without the engine. Not long after getting under way we completed a Surface Station collection, grabbing a bucket of surface water to analyze for nutrient concentrations, chlorophyll-a, and bacterial abundance. We took a second Surface Station sample at midnight while I was standing the night watch along with the rest of C watch.
In early afternoon we had our first visitors – a group of spotted dolphins. They swam alongside us long enough for someone to go wake Natalie, a member of the marine mammal team, who was thrilled to see them. We encountered a second group later on, as well as a few of a different species who showed off some aerobatics. For me and all the other students who had never before seen dolphins in the wild – as well as those who had – it was an exciting experience. We’ll all be looking forward to seeing more charismatic megafauna along our cruise track.
- Ariana, C Watch, Northeastern University
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