Daily Science Report: Friday February 19th

By Mike Cheadle

The first birds, packing and more report writing. Today, was the last but one day, and packing preceded apace together with that tinge of sadness that it’s nearly all over… and the real world is looming. These days, (some) internet & e-mail keeps one more in touch with the outside world during a cruise than in the good old days (no internet, limited e-mail), but we are still in our own little world out here, with three provided meals a day (the best food I’ve ever had on a research vessel) and a routine focused on the job at hand.

In between the packing, report writing continued and we had the fun of sleuthing out (together with Chris German, on-shore scientist) whether we re-discovered the vents that the French manned submersible Nautile found at Pito Seamount, way back in 1993. In those days navigation was less good and they didn’t have our wonderful Sentry maps, but depths were accurate and of course there is always the geology to compare. On the left is my guess at where Nautile went (white semi-transparent dive track), superimposed on our ship multibeam (brown) and Sentry (coloured) maps. Nautile found vents at their waypoint 9 and we found two vents there too- now named “Scotty’s Castle” & the 20m high “Magnificent Village”, but we also found 4-5 other previously unknown vents at sites shown by the red stars. It seems only right to name the vent field, the “Nautile vent field”.