Day 10 into our voyage and we have made great progress, we have collected samples and data from nearly all our sites across the northern rise using the DTIS and Multicore and these past few days we have come around the Chatham Islands, although to our disappointment we couldn’t see them. The Tangaroa’s horizon line sits at 11 nautical miles, sadly the closest we come to the islands is about 14 miles. So close but so far. There are many more sites along the southern rise we will be stopping at. When the team gets back to port the samples will be further analysed and then added to an existing model which predicts the species which are likely to be found in the waters surrounding New Zealand.
We have also started using another brilliant piece of equipment. The Tangaroa’s multi-beam system is the technology the team uses to map the seafloor. Most of the depths we’ve been working at range between 300-600 m but some of our sites are as deep as 1200 m and as shallow as 150 m. While parts of the Chatham Rise have been mapped before, it’s always good to map the specific areas we’re working with to uncover any features that may hold different habitats and therefore different species.
Community on Seamount at 1090 m deep.
Most of the terrain we’ve covered so far has been flat and muddy or sandy, but as we come around the islands and head south we’re already finding that’s starting to change. One of the sites we sampled the other night was a seamount which had an interesting rocky lava terrain, which was exciting in comparison to our other sites (see picture on cover).
We have been blessed with stunning weather over the last week which makes ship life so much more pleasant. A few nights ago after our shift we made milos with ice-cream and took them up to the bridge to watch a remarkable full moon rise up over the horizon. We’re both finally starting to build a routine and the days are flying by. Wish us luck that the weather stays good for us!
Shrimps and Burrows at 850 m depth.
Ripples at 665 m deep.
BLAKE NIWA Ambassador 2016