Thursday, 23 February 2012

Weather diversion

Our site in the Western Channel is very exposed to weather coming from the southwest which is just what we got earlier today (or yesterday).  By lunchtime, the conditions got too strong for safe working - the risk is when deploying and recovering the grab/sledge.   Always have a plan B - in our case it was to steam north to the rMCZ at South East of Falmouth.  Closer inshore the swell wasn't as bad and we could work safely.  We'll sample this relatively small rMCZ before returning to Western Channel later in the week when the weather should be better.

Preparing to recover the camera sledge as the waves are picking up

Once the sledge leaves the water it can start to swing as the boat rolls.
Endeavour's crew are well practised and got the sledge aboard safely, but this was the last tow for the moment.

The view from the bridge.

When we were able to sample with the Hamon grab, many of the station yielded 8-10 litres of  this 'biogenic' sand (made by animal processes rather than geological ones).  Its made of shells and urchin spines.
 The English Channel is a busy place and we've seen a lot more shipping here than at the sites in the Celtic Sea. One edge of the Western Channel rMCZ is the border into French waters and the skipper was very conscious of not straying over the line.  The bad weather has less of an effect when your vessel is the size of this container ship.
A well-laden container ship heading east up the Channel.

The gulls and gannets seemed to enjoy the high winds and put on  a  display or their flying skills.