Daily Log

Dan Bassett

On this web page I will be posting daily updates on the progress of our mid-Atlantic cruise on the R.V. Langseth. The object of this project is study the nature of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) from its creation at a mid-ocean ridge to an age of 40 My or more.

Diary (most recent first, so read from the bottom if you're not up to date)

Sunday March 27: We were up early this morning to start the long-trip home. Our flight to London departed at 11.00 am, so we met for breakfast at 7.30 before heading to the airport. After checking in and going through security, Jake and I found the nearest KFC. Having spent several days describing the refined joys of the Zinger Tower Burger and in full knowledge that this delicacy is not available in the US, Jake and I took our chance and loaded up for the trip home. A passenger between us prevented us from tucking in on our first flight, so our burgers would have to wait until we arrived at Heathrow. Our tight connection at Heathrow was made tighter by our flight arriving 20 minutes late and we repeated the mad dash between terminals 3 and 5 to get our connecting flight home. Thankfully the our burgers safely made it through security and these were consumed in appreciative silence prior to boarding. Our final flight was smooth and we landed back in San Diego at 6.30 pm. Customs for non-citizens took quite a while, but Jake was kind enough to wait on the other side to check we all got through OK. After brief farewells, we all got taxis home. It was fantastic to get home and conclude an extremely successful trip. Bassett. Log. Out.

Saturday March 26: Woke up this morning refreshed after my first night in a proper bed but with a slightly sore head after last nights celebrations. Our flight to Lisbon departed at 1.30 pm and I was starting to feel human again by the time we arrived at the airport at 11.30. I shared a coffee with Nick while Jake and Chris scurried around the airport looking for souvenirs to soak up their remaining Cape Verdian Escudos. The flight to Lisbon took slightly (250%) longer than the 95 minutes Jake had predicted, and we arrived in Lisbon at 6.30 pm. Thankfully Sean kept his cork hat under wraps and didn't experience the same problems with customs officials he had leaving Portugal (see Wednesday 24 Feb). On our way to the hotel I joined Sean and Ernie on a slight detour to visit a small pottery shop. It was fantastic and we seriously tried our drivers patience as we each loaded up with souvenirs. We then checked into our hotel, while Sean bought every cork product in Lisbon, before we headed out for dinner. Jake had spent the majority of our 4 day transit researching restaurants in Lisbon, and his selection did not disappoint. Both the food and wine were fantastic. I had scallops for a starter followed by Piglet that had been roasted for 48 hours. Both were amazing.

Friday March 25: Today started little earlier than planned when the ships bow-thrusters were activated at 6.00 am. The best analogy for this is being woken up by someone leaving an extremely loud vacuum cleaner in your room. Needless to say this made sleeping difficult. The pilot arrived at 8 am to guide the Langseth into port. We were along side by 9.00 and free to leave the ship shortly after 10. With it being Easter Friday, Mindelo was absolutely deserted and all the shops were closed so our first foray back into civilization ended as quickly as it began and we were back on the Langseth in time for lunch. After lunch, Sean took Chris and me up Mt Verde, the highest peak on Sao Vicente. I wish I could say this was on foot, but there are paved roads right to the top so we took a white knuckle ride in a taxi. We were greeted at the top by a 16 year old with an AK47, charged with protecting the radio antennae and satellite dishes. The taxi driver was kind enough to wait, so we spent 30 minutes scrambling around the compound taking photos while trying not to be blown off shear 100+ meter cliffs. The views were amazing and this was definitely the best thing we did in Mindelo - thanks Sean! This evening we had a few drinks at a local beach bar watching the sun set, a fitting way conclude a smooth and enjoyable cruise with the Captain and crew of the R/V M.G. Langseth.

Thursday March 24: We are making steady progress north and are approaching the island of Sao Tiaga, which hosts Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde. The weather remains a little unsettled and we are looking forward to the shelter that we will hope the islands will provide. We spent most of the day packing up the dry lab, which has been our home away from Scripps for the last 3+ weeks. A morning without coffee is unthinkable at sea and the coffee machine was the only piece of kit left standing by dinner time. For our last supper on the ship the chefs prepared a delicious tenderloin steak. After dinner we watched the movie Captain Philips before retiring for the last night in our cabins. We are due in port tomorrow morning and it's exciting to think that our next night will be spent in a stationary bed.

Wednesday March 24: This morning we woke early, knowing that today was the day we would be experience the equator crossing ceremony. We were instructed to put our clothes on inside-out, backwards and in reverse order with undergarments on the outside. At breakfast we were presented with signs to wear. Jake's "Roid calves" was my personal favorite, although Chris' "Paul Bunyan" was a close second. After breakfast we assembled in the dry-lab and waited for the initiation to begin. This was scheduled to take place on the main deck, but the high seas meant this had to be moved inside to the wet-lab. One by one, we each had to kneel in front of the court, which consisted of Chief Scientist Nicolas Harmon dressed as the sea-hag (grass skirt and clam-shell bikini), ResTech Tina dressed as Neptune and LDEO Tech Ted dressed as a disturbingly convincing baby. We then had to confess to crossing the equator without Neptune's permission and accept our punishment. This consisted of crawling through the belly of the whale (boxes filled with food slops that looked and smelt awful), having water tipped over our head and eating an olive from the belly of the baby (Ted). We then had to entertain the court, which consisted of a group performance of YMCA. Overall it was all good fun and the captain presented us with amazingly professional looking certificates to prove our graduation from Pollywogs to Shellbacks.

Tuesday March 23: As we progress north we are being met with increasingly hostile weather. The sea has picked up and high winds are producing swells in excess of 3 meters, which has had the Langseth heaving and rolling quite a lot. The weather has not slowed our progress, but it has turning sleeping into an evening game called "what's rattling in my room". It thought I had dealt with most of the rattles early in the trip but with the high seas it seems a previously dormant more illusive group of rattles have been uncovered. Last night I found a clothes-hanger under my bed and a loose screw on the bookshelf, both of which were creating quite a racket with each roll of the ship. The air conditioner is a serial offender and it makes a deep almost pained groan each time the ship rolls. I have discovered this can be temporarily stopped by a firm but fair whack on the side. I hope this repeated whacking is not waking my ship-mates. My unsettled sleep meant my alarm was ignored and I slept until 10.00 am. After lunch we had a fire drill. As for all the other drills we have participated in, this required no action on the part of the scientists apart from mustering aft of the bridge. I was excited to see lamb curry on the menu for dinner. It was one of the early meal highlights and was as delicious as the first time we had it.

Monday March 22: Having made the last deployment we are now well on our way back to Cape Verde. My efforts to get up in time for breakfast this morning were rewarded when it was announced that an engine room tour was scheduled for 8.00 am. After assembling in the main lab, we made our way to the engine control room where we were given ear plugs. It is very noisy in the engine room, so before making our way down into the bowels of the ship the 1st engineer gave us a great summary of what we would see and how the ship works. It was fascinating. I was particularly surprised to hear that the ship's propellers are always turning at the same rate and that the speed of the ship is controlled by adjusting the pitch of the propeller blades. The reason for this is that the ship's electricity is generated by the same diesel engines and so these need to run at a constant rate to provide a steady supply of electricity to the ship. The engine room itself was very hot, very noisy and very very loud. The ceilings were also quite low so it's not the job for anyone at all claustrophobic, especially if you are as tall as I am. After the tour the engineer described some of the safety features of the ship, including being able to sail the ship entirely from the engine room, which is our plan if we encounter pirates.

Sunday March 21: We arrived at site 38 shortly after midnight and watched the Scripps team deploy their 15th and final ocean bottom seismograph. I had tried to convince the OBS guys to take their time and open up a small window for some more squid fishing, but this was unsuccessful so we had our MT receiver in the water by 1 am. The transit to the next site was only 6 hours so we all went to bed to try and get as much sleep as possible before getting up to deploy our final instrument. We were all up at 6.45 and made the deployment an hour later - 39 down, 0 to go. We gave our chief scientist the honor of pulling the final release line. After our last deployment the chefs had a nice surprise waiting for us in the galley and we all enjoyed eggs benedict for breakfast, which was delicious. Tonight we watched The Hateful Eight. It was entertaining but very long and did nothing to change my opinion that Quentin Tarentino is an odd duck.

Saturday March 20: At around midnight last night we finished the bathymetry survey of the transform fault and set a course for site 37. It was great this morning to finally get our hands dirty again and with all four of the MT team on the job we quickly had the remaining three loggers ready to go and the first instrument prepared for launch. Instrument 37 was deployed shortly after lunch. We then began the 10 hour transit to the penultimate site 38. We enjoyed another nice sunset after dinner. Tonight's film was Everest. Good movie with some amazing scenery but the New Zealand accents left a lot of room for improvement.

Friday March 19: We are nearing the end of our five-day bathymetry survey of the transform fault. The bathymetry and gravity data we collected are of high quality and it will be interesting to compare the crustal structure with earthquake locations and mechanisms. The survey is scheduled to finish near midnight and we will then start the 20 hour transit to site 37. After dinner we enjoying a nice sunset before watching "The Revenant". It was very long and must have been the coldest film of all time to produce. Lynda from Elkhart, Indiana, in response to your questions: 1) The region we are in is near the Atlantic mid-ocean ridge. This is the boundary between the African and South American tectonic plates. As these plates are moving apart, a gap is created that allows fresh lava to rise up and cool, forming new oceanic crust. 2) Unfortunately I did not get another chance to catch or eat any squid. 3) The fried chicken was delicious. Well seasoned and very well cooked. I was very grateful Ernie put a request in with the chefs. 4) There is a seagoing tradition where sailors who have not crossed the equator on a ship before go through an induction ceremony the first time they cross. Part of this induction requires that we do some kind of performance or skit to entertain the court of people who are indicting us. This will likely take place on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I will update the blog with a record of our induction.

Monday 13 - Thursday 17: Since deploying the last instrument on the main transect on Sunday, we have spent four days conducting a multibeam survey of the fracture zone between our profiles. This consists of little more than giving the captain a set of way-points, and then "mowing the lawn", across the survey. We have been conducting the survey along N-S trending profiles, moving from West to East. As you can see from the map, at the time of writing we are about 80% of the way along. Multibeam requires no work on our part and as a result, we have had complete free time. Jake, Chris and the other techs have so far filled their time watching movies and reading books. I have been working on a couple of papers. All the pollywogs (those who have not crossed the equator on a ship before) have been asked to prepare a skit or performance for the equator crossing ceremony. We have started throwing a few ideas around the lab, but probably won't start rehearsing until we get our last 3 instruments in the water. It's looking like we could be at site 37 on Saturday evening. We have enjoyed a couple of nice sunsets the past couple of evenings, which most of the science party have observed from the OBS deck at the back of the ship.

Sunday March 13: Chris and Eric had a productive night shift and deployed the last instrument along the main transect at 8.30 am. We have now deployed 36 of 39 MT receivers, with the remaining 3 to be deployed in 5-6 days time before we start our transit back to Cape Verde. We finished the main transect line a little over 5 days ahead of schedule, which will enable us to conduct a swath bathymetry survey of the fracture zone separating our two profiles. We will also be towing the magnetometer and after consulting Steve and Jeff Gee back at Scripps, we modified our survey from ridge-perpendicular to ridge-normal profiles to maximise our chances of collecting good magnetics data near the equator. We now have at least 5 days to entertain ourselves. Jake has a collection of wine magazines and Chris is watching movies to try and keep himself awake as he transitions off night-shift. I have a couple of papers to finish up so will have no problem keeping busy.

Saturday March 12: Jake and I had our busiest shift of the cruise today. We are now at the southern end of the main transect and shorter 20 km instrument spacings have us making a deployment every 2.5 hours. We had no problem keeping up with the ship and it was good to be busy. Thankfully it wasn't quite as hot on deck as previous days and the sea breeze stopped it from getting too uncomfortable. It even drizzled for half an hour in the evening which was quite pleasant. It also gave Sean a chance to take some quite nice photos. Chris and Eric are extremely diligent when preparing our MT instruments, particularly when it comes to greasing the connections. On one instrument, they even went as far as deploying the grease tube. I thought this was a little overboard, but I guess you can't be too careful with year-long deployments. Jake's calf muscles continue to cause a stir everywhere he goes and this cruise is no exception (see photo).

Friday March 11: We are making rapid progress down our main transect line - 24 instruments down, 15 to go. Our deployments are continuing to go smoothly but a brief problem with the battery pack on one of the LDEO loggers required us to wait on station for 45 minutes. This provided me with our first opportunity to get Chris's squid jig in the water. Interestingly it got more attention from fish than squid, and the first action came when a 2-3 feet long but extremely thin fish had a bite. Unfortunately it struck the side of the lure rather than the hooks at the base, and it let go when I had it 1-2 feet out of the water. Disappointing but exciting nonetheless. One squid also had a crack, but it managed to wriggle off before I could get the hook set. For dinner this evening, at Ernie Aaron's request, we had glorious fried chicken - anyone who knows me well will know what a big deal this was. A list has also been compiled of people who have not previously crossed the equator on a ship and an induction ceremony is being planned for the return transit. Only time will tell what this will entail but I expect food slops will feature prominently.

Thursday March 10: Today we crossed back into the northern hemisphere and have started deploying instruments down our main transect line - 17 down 22 to go. The instrument spacing along this transect are generally less than 50 km so the next few days will be our busiest of the cruise (see updated Map). Putting our MT instruments together is now a slick operation and I expect we will have no problems keeping up. Motivated by increased volumes of squid attracted to the surface by lights used in night-time deployments, Chris used wire to fashion a squid jig. The first-mate has kindly provided a fishing rod and we are eagerly awaiting our first opportunity to try our luck.

Wednesday March 9: We are continuing to make our way east and deployed the last two instruments on our southern transect of the mid-ocean ridge. We are still having problems communicating with our instruments on the seafloor and this morning we conducted an experiment to see what influence noise from the Langesth was having on our acoustics. Chris Armerding, armed with a dunking transducer, was deployed in the safety boat, which then moved ~1 km away. Using the dunking transducer, Chris received crisp and clear acoustic returns from OBS and MT receivers on the seafloor to signals sent from the safety boat and the Langseth. This test was repeated at offset ~500m from the Langseth with similar success. The conclusion drawn was that instruments on the seafloor were most likely hearing the signals we had been sending, but that noise generated by the Langseth was hampering our ability to hear our instruments respond. The implication for this cruise is that surveying deployed OBS is unlikely to be successful and this task will have to wait for the recovery cruise. This will free up some extra time for surveying, which will most likely be focused around the fracture zone between our two transects.

Tuesday March 8: Today we crossed the Mid-Atlantic ridge. The backscatter data revealed an impressively wide patch of high-amplitude returns indicative of fresh volcanic rock. Instrument spacings have stretched to over 100 km limiting us to one deployment per 12 hour shift and today's main excitement was the man overboard drill conducted after lunch. My offers to act as the rescuee were rebuffed by the captain and a mannequin in a survival suit was unceremoniously tossed off the starboard side of the ship into the Atlantic. The safety boat slowly made its way south and the mannequin was retrieved, hopefully not making use of what looked like a harpoon wielded by the crew-member at the bow of the rescue boat. At dinner we heard reports that at around 4 am on the previous morning the first-mate observed a sequence of explosions in the sky. As yet we are not sure what it was, but the most likely candidates are a meteor, or some form of military test. We also experienced our first spell of rain since leaving San Diego. This consisted of a 30 minute torrential downpour in eerily calm and foggy conditions. Viability was less than 100 meters, requiring us to blast the fog horn every couple of minutes, which I'm sure the sleeping crew appreciated.

Monday March 7: Shorter transits between sites enabled us to deploy 5 more instruments today, 8 down - 31 to go! Our schedule is quite fluid, primarily due to the uncertainty in whether we can survey deployed OBSs before starting the transit to our next site. Jake and I deployed 3 on our last 12 hour shift. I have also proved myself sufficiently for Jake to trust me with pulling the release cord that detaches our EM receiver from the A-frame condemning it (temporarily) to the deep (see photo). Our chefs on the mess deck served up a couple of gems today. Flounder for lunch and lamb curry for dinner were both delicious, almost emotional experiences. Desert was generously provided by Seen McPeak who had smuggled on-board some contraband (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups) from San Diego. Nicholas chief scientist Harmon and I are already planning a mid-deployment raid on Seen's cabin to seize any other treats that might have made their way onboard. Today's animal sightings included a bird (some form of gull) and a flying fish that unfortunately met its demise flying into the side of the ship.

Sunday March 6: Deployments are continuing to go well, 3 down - 36 to go. Long transits between the first few sites made it feel as though we were making slow progress, but we are ahead of schedule and the additional time has been helpful as I learn the ropes in receiver prep from Wacob Perez. The OBS component of our Scripps team had our first success surveying their instrument on the seafloor using the hull-mounted transducer. While I wouldn't dream of questioning Ernie and Seen's hydroacoustics skills, environmental variables, in particular the sound-velocity gradient near the surface, seem to change across the study area and be an important control on our ability to communicate with instruments on the seafloor. Steve, our commander-in-chief back at Scripps, is already thinking up strategies to combat this during our recovery mission. Our first wildlife observations were made last night when the lights from the A-frame brought a number of squid to the surface. Most were small, white and less than a foot long but Jake and I spotted one beast over a meter long and orange/red in color. Finally, I'm not sure what constitutes going viral, but international shout-outs are warranted to Carrie in Vietnam, Pei Ching in Taiwan, Aunt Lou in Los Angeles and Linda in Elkhart, Indiana.

Saturday March 5: We are underway having successfully deployed our first MT instrument at 4.00 am. After our deployment the OBS teams performed their acoustic rosette test. Unfortunately the hull mounted transducer did not perform well and neither Scripps or IPGP teams received returns from their acoustic units at deployment depths. Shallowing the rosette from 4 to 1.5 km yielded some weak returns, but reliable returns were not received from all units until the rosette was brought up to ~1 km depth. Our shallowest deployment is ~2.7 km with 26 exceeding 4 km. With rosette back on-board, we returned to try and communicate with our MT instrument using the hull transducer and a wide-range of dunking transducers at various offsets and azimuths. No returns were received. An XBT cast reveled that temperature dropped 28 degrees Celsius within 1 km of the sea-surface. It is possible this sound-velocity profile is contributing to our difficulty communicating with our receivers, but the transducers seem to be a bigger problem. We will try to survey the first Scripps OBS deployed, but this task may have to wait until recovery which will take place on the R/V Cook. Our colleagues from IPGP deployed their first broadband OBS before we set sail for the southern hemisphere and site 2. We are due to arrive at 2.00 am.

Friday March 4: In preparation for our first deployment (scheduled for 4.00 am tomorrow morning) we spent the morning going through the checkout procedure for our loggers. Chris and Jake are experts with at least 500 deployments each, so they talked Eric and me through the process as we all prepared the first logger for deployment. It initially seemed like a lot to remember, but the check-out sheet is well designed to guide the process and Chris and Jake will be on-hand to check everything is OK before sealing it up. After lunch we moved outside and prepared the first instrument on-deck for deployment. This initially involved attaching the magnetometers, strayline, plugging in the logger and acoustic units and testing the strayline and acoustic release. The arms, electrodes and finally the flag will be added just before deployment to save space on deck. Our smallest instrument spacing is 29 km, so we have plenty of time between deployments to take our time and double-check all the connections.

Thursday March 3: We are continuing to make our way south. Following seas have us making good progress and we have topped 12 knots on occasions. We briefly diverted track to pass over several seamounts. Our survey revealed these to be Guyots, with their characteristic flat tops indicative of shallow wave action. The top of the shallowest Guyot was at ~1200 m depth, so they have subsided significantly since wave plaination. Unfortunately we did not have time for a full survey, but the multibeam data we did collect showed some interesting submarine canyons and collapse structures extending down the flanks and out into the adjacent abyssal plane. After enduring some questionable movie selections, we have been drawn into a nightly race to occupy the movie room and select the evenings entertainment. Tonight, Jake abused this privilege and brought our credibility into question through his recommendation of the interesting but odd film "Four Rooms".

Wednesday March 2: Making good progress on our way south. I have produced a map showing our expected ship track (black) and progress to date (grey). I will update this daily. We passed a scientific milestone at approximately 2 pm when we sailed out of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cape Verde. This enabled us to turn on the multibeam echo-sounder and start recording gravity data for the first time on this trip. The sea remains calm and the weather is warm but breezy. In preparation for our first deployment, I have calibrated myself using a torque wrench to produce a perfect 50 pound per square inch turn with my right hand. This is the optimal torque required for the seal screws on our loggers.

Tuesday March 1: After a brief check for stowaways we finally bid farewell to Mindelo and set sail for the study site. Our transit is scheduled to take a little over 5 days and we should be in position to deploy our first MT receiver around mid-day on March 5. It was quite scenic for the first few hours (see photo) as we cut a path through the islands and following seas made for a relatively smooth ride. We also had a culinary highlight at lunch in the form of some delicious chicken salad sandwiches. After lunch we participated in fire and abandon-ship drills, requiring us to spend 30 minutes in lifejackets at our muster point aft of the bridge. We also have good news to report regarding the acoustic transducer. Ted (LDEO) noticed that there was a second hull-mounted traducer and initial tests with Ernie Aaron (Scripps) suggested it may be operational. This would significantly speed up surveying each OBS after deployment, so hopefully it performs well during the acoustic rosette test.

Monday 29 February: Today was our last day in Mindelo, Cape Verde. Tomorrow at 8 am we set sail for the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In the morning Alan Thompson gave the science party a safety briefing and a tour of the Langseth. We then had a second meeting after lunch where Nicolas Harmon gave an overview of the science motivating this expedition, before discussing deployment logistics and the individual requirements of each group with the Captain. At each site, we will first deploy an OBS before moving the ship 1 km off-station to deploy one of our MT receivers. We will then attempt to determine the location of the OBS by acoustically ranging on it from at least four locations. The hull-mounted traducer on the Langseth is currently out-of-action, so it may be a challenge to complete this latter task in a timely fashion. Bringing a 3800 gt vessel to a stop to deploy a dunking traducer is not a quick process, especially without breaks. We will give it a try at the first site and see how we go.

Sunday 28 February: Felt much better this morning, still a little congested but the body ache was gone. At 7am the ship moved docks to begin refuelling. After breakfast we started setting up the dry-lab. Jake got straight to work on the coffee machine - clearly the most important, and also most carefully packed, piece of equipment shipped to Cape Verde. Chris busied himself with much less important tasks like the GPS clock and logger-checkout station. At lunch Jake partially compensated for forgetting my work boots by introducing me to Siracha sauce. A small step toward redemption, but it's a start. After lunch, we walked into Mindelo to try and find a local market the Ernie and Sean had spotted on Saturday. We found the Market square but it was empty, in fact, the whole town was deserted. The pace of life here is nice and relaxed but Sunday must be a particularly quiet day. The French techs from IPGP arrived this afternoon so we now have our full complement of the Science team.

Saturday 27 February: Today was a rough day for me. I was extremely congested when I woke in the morning and my entire body ached. It felt like a had the flu, but I think it was probably related to all the dust in Mindelo. Cape Verde is an extremely windy place. Checked out of our hotel at 7.30 and caught a taxi with our luggage down to the R/V Langseth. We then loaded the remainder of the Scripps Ocean Bottom Seismographs (OBS) before Jake and Ernie went to the airport to collect the French (IPGP) OBS. These instruments had to be air-freighted at the last-minute on a privately chartered Russian plane after a storm delayed their shipment by sea. After lunch my body collapsed so after gratefully taking all the medication Jake and Sean could offer, I slept all afternoon. Felt a little better in the evening and managed to eat some dinner, but it wasn't more than an hour before I crawled back to bed. Our colleagues from Southampton arrived today.

Friday 26 February: Had another good day today. Headed down to the dock after breakfast and began to unload our containers. Thankfully everything arrived safely (except my work boots - thanks Jake Perez - increasingly untrustworthy Scripps tech) and the Langseth crew quickly had all our gear on-board. It was an impressively smooth and efficient operation and there were no signs of any after-effects following the previous nights celebrations. We then went about unpacking, tying down and setting up the GPS clock and the lab. Still a few small jobs left to do tomorrow, but we are well ahead of schedule - our first official mobilization-day was not scheduled until the 28th. Taking up residence on the R/V Langseth tomorrow morning and we are looking forward to welcoming our chief scientists and the groups from LDEO and IPGP as they arrive over the next couple of days.

Thursday 25 February: Had a good day today. Our containers cleared customs and were delivered to the dock. The R/V Marcus G. Langseth also arrived in port at around 2 pm, so a few of us went down to welcome the crew and science party into Mindelo. Having been at sea for over 50 days, they were understandably glad to be on dry land and swiftly made their way into town to explore the local watering-holes. By all accounts, the previous cruise was successful and all the science objectives were accomplished. I am glad we won't have to endure 11 day departing and returning transits, but hopefully we will experience similarly calm seas. Was great to meet the captian and crew and looking forward to sailing with them.

Wednesday 24 February: Had an early start this morning to catch our flight to Sao Vicente, Cape Verde. Sean McPeak provided an early trip highlight when passing through passport control in Lisbon. First, he misunderstood a request to remove his newly purchased cork cap. He then attempted to atone for his error by asking the customs office how his day was going. Unimpressed, the customs officer stood up, pressed his face against the glass and provided the bewildering response "I am 40 years old, and I would never ask a cop how his day is going". Luckily Sean survived this brief scare and we all arrived safely in Sao Vicente mid-afternoon. The weather is warm and quite humid and it was instantly apparent what Cape Verde is regarded as the windsurfing capital of the world. After checking into our Hotel, we had a walk through Mindelo, where Jake instantly made friends with one of the locals who volunteered to be our tour guide for the next couple of hours. Had a nice meal in the evening down by the harbor before heading back to the hotel. The R/V Langseth is due in port tomorrow.

Tuesday 23 February: Travelled from San Diego to Lisbon, Portugal with Jake Perez and Chris Armerding (Scripps EM-Lab techs). We had a tight connecting flight through Heathrow, but Jake led the charge through a labyrinth of escalators, travalators, buses and corridors to get us from Teminal 5 to our gate at Terminal 3 in time. Impressive since he didn't manage to sleep a wink between San Diego and London. We arrived in Lisbon at 6.00 pm. Ernie Aaron and Sean McPeak (Scripps OBS techs) had selected the farthest hotel from Lisbon airport and after a suspiciously long taxi tour of the narrowest roads in Lisbon, we were greeted at our hotel with a complementary beer and Champions league football. Had a nice meal at a restaurant scouted by Ernie and Sean and enjoyed a short stroll through Lisbon before heading back to the hotel.

Monday 2/22/2016: Dan will fly out to Cape Verde Islands with Chris and Jake, our trusty techs.