You can follow Dr. Isabel Romero on twitter, @IsabelR0mer0

 

1 August 2015:

 

Good seas keep us on track!

 

The beautiful weather has shortened the transit time a great deal these first days, as the sites are spread far apart.  Also, the R/V Justo Sierra is a 160 feet vessel, much larger and faster than the R/V Weatherbird (which we have been using for the past few years [for northern Gulf cruises]). With the weather on our side and a faster boat, we may be able to catch up on the time lost waiting for our gear to arrive to the city of Tuxpan, Mexico.

It is fair to say that Tuxpan turned out to be a very nice and warm city, with extraordinary food and authentic markets.  There were lots of people on the streets, even entire families walking around late at night. People welcomed us with open arms and were very delighted to share their culture and food with us.

After a long transit of about 20 hours, we arrived to our deepest site (3800 m depth) this morning at 9:00 am. The site is located at the eastern most portion of our cruise track on the northwest corner of the Campeche Bank. Scientists spent the transit time processing their samples, preparing for the next round of samples to be collected and decorated styrofoam heads. Yes, you read it right! It’s becoming a tradition now to decorate and send styrofoam heads down to the bottom of the ocean to commemorate and remember the good times on our cruises. And, this time we have a few styrofoam Mexican skulls as well!

At 1:30 pm we received the water samples from the CTD and two hours later we got nice full sediment cores. We were all very excited to see the laminations [types of layering] present in the core we split, which kept us busy for a while. Also, we got back all heads and skulls looking good and shrunken by about 50%.