Kilali – Blog 4
Blake Ambassador 2016/17 Blogs | NIWA AMBASSADOR 2016/17
December 15, 2016

The past two days brought the ocean’s most chaotic performance of our voyage with swell colliding from the northeast and the southwest, creating messy waves of up to 7 meters (almost 2 stories) and 80 km/hr winds. We decided to halt our research to avoid any potential damage to the equipment which gave us plenty of time to look at our progress.

Thus far, we’ve finished more than 100 DTIS (Deep water Towed Imaging System) transects and about 20 Multicore sites (our sediment extractions). Aside from filming, our DTIS also takes a picture every 15 seconds during our 1 hour transect. At the end of each transect, all of the pictures are reviewed. This allows us to zoom in on the photos to find smaller organisms we may have missed. The best pictures are then filtered out into folders labelled with the photographed organism’s names.

The bad weather has also allowed us time to be productive in other ways as we bound together to pass the time. Our day shift team (12 pm-12 am) have successfully completed all 3 Austin Power movies along with a few other comedies. We’ve raided most of our personal snack stocks, but luckily the Tangaroa has an endless supply of treats to keep us going. Going to the gym was possible at certain points of our rest days (I even managed to sneak into the sauna for a bit), but not without extra caution as it was difficult to maintain balance for long. Taking showers in the rough swell is always a little risky but by now we’re masters of timing, dashing in just after a big few rolls and holding on tight to the railing on the wall. We’re told another gale is likely to come around some time this weekend which could mean that we lose another day or so of research. Until then we will buckle down and get as many sites completed as we can before we head home!

Below are some of my personal favourite photographs from the first half of our trip:

Group of Hapuku (Polypreion oxygeneios) fishes following our DTIS lights.

A single flatfish swimming above gravel seabed.

Seastar (Asteroidea) with rattail fish.

Skate sitting above the muddy sediment and burrows.

Community of pencil urchins (Cidaroida), sea lilly’s (Crinoidea), and stony coral with bright orange polyps (Scleractinia).

Picture of floating salp (Pyrosoma) near the sea surface.

Kilali Gibson

Kilali Gibson

BLAKE NIWA Ambassador 2016