Saturday, 5 January 2013

We're off!

We set sail from Lowestoft on the Cefas Endeavour in the early hours yesterday with the crew and a team of Cefas scientists. Luckily the weather is great for January so we've had nice calm seas... so far. It's a long steam to site so we've had plenty of time to prepare for the survey. We made sure all the kit was on board and stowed away safely in case it gets rough.

As this will be the first experience of survey for a few people so the senior scientists gave a quick run through on deck of how the various pieces of equipment work, including the Day grab for soft sediment sampling...

"make sure the jaws of the grab have shut fully when you receive your sample"

... the Hamon grab for stony sediment sampling (which we probably won't need on this trip as we are sampling mud)

...and the sieve table for filtering out all the fauna from the sample.
"The top sieve catches large sediment and fauna and the bottom sieve filters out all fauna over 1mm in size."

We sailed onwards up the east coast and had a bit of time to relax and get to know each other. We then found a spot to wet test the gear and made sure everything was in order before the actual survey starts. The camera was lowered to the bottom and we took some practice footage to tweek the settings and make sure we get the best shots possible.
A test grab sample was also taken and senior scientists went over what information needs to be noted and how to process a sample.
How many scientists does it take to get a grab sample?

Two to collect the sample and the rest to discuss whether it consists of sandy mud or muddy sand!

"I think slightly muddy sand with shells"

We are now in the process of calibrating the multibeam bathymetry gear which is used to record seabed depth. We'll hopefully be ready on site to kick off sampling later this evening.