What’s been happening on the maiden voyage?

By CSIRO

26 March 2015

4 minute read

Some of the scientists on board the Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator for the maiden voyage, are from The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR), including Eric Schulz and Alain Protat.

Eric has been writing a blog on the CAWCR website at http://www.cawcr.gov.au/inv/

Here are the entries from the past few days!

Sunday 22nd March 2015

Yesterday, the RV Investigator started its maiden voyage, heading to the Southern Ocean to deploy high-precision deep-water moorings which will form part of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and provide information that has global significance for climate research.

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Anchored to the ocean floor 4.5 kilometres below the surface, the equipment will spend the next year recording precise hourly readings of temperature, salinity, acidity, biological activity, ocean currents, nutrients and atmospheric conditions. Data collected at the surface will be relayed back to scientists in Hobart by satellite.

RV Investigator - maiden voyage preparations 5

The project is a partnership between the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC (ACE CRC), CSIRO, the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

CAWCR will have two of their Bureau based scientists on-board during this landmark voyage (Eric Schulz and Alain Protat) who will be providing updates on the progress of the maiden voyage until their return on March 31st 2015.

Monday 23rd March 2015

Hi everyone,

After the first two days of feeling queasy while doing trials in Storm Bay just out of Hobart, and then heading on down South West to the mooring site, things looked up with most of the science party in the swing of things, busy setting up their equipment and getting to know the ship and daily routine.

A new ship on its maiden science voyage is proving a fun challenge.

The food, cabins and roll of the ship is different. There is a whole different labyrinth of corridors to negotiate, laboratories and decks to navigate, and new crew to meet (with some old familiar faces as well).

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The weather has been kind with moderate conditions and some great sunsets. The photo is of the Sunset on Monday night which I managed to catch as an albatross flew past. This was at the mooring site located at 47S, 142E

Our first mooring was put in the ocean on Monday, a weather buoy – this will stay here until we return a year later. One buoy done, three to go!

Eric Schulz

Wednesday 25th March 2015

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Eric takes a brief break in his busy work schedule to take a quick selfie in the mooring sediment trap van (shipping container) while deploying the Pulse-11 bio-geo-chemical mooring. The mooring is equipped with a range of sensors to record waves, currents, temperature, salinity, oxygen, total gas tension, phytoplankton fluorescence, particulate backscatter and photosynthetically active radiation, as well as a sampler for the collection of weekly samples for dissolved inorganic carbon, alkalinity, nitrate, silicate, and phytoplankton identification measurements.

Thursday 26th March 2015

Hi Everyone,

Over the last few days we have settled into the rhythm of carrying out science at sea. The ship runs around the clock with most of the activity occurring during daylight hours (when we can deploy and recover equipment). Night-time is devoted to automated data collecting or moving the vessel to new locations.

Here is a great animation that shows one way that we measure our oceans on RV Investigator

Activities are punctuated by three square meals a day – a good chance to come together and catch up on everybody’s activities around the ship – from the cloud radar and aerosol collection at the bow through the water filtering and spectroscopy down below and moorings on the back deck. The food is fresh and delicious, a constant struggle to not over indulge although some people manage to visit the gym.

Here is a photo of the crew that deployed the weather buoy. As you can see it takes a big team to get the gear in the water.

The crew the crew that deployed the weather buoy

We also had a visitor earlier in the week with a Salp stranded on the deck by a wave. This fish-jelly like creature is amazing and you can even see the Krill it had for breakfast in the photo.

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