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Where the Plume meets the Ocean

05/28/2010, 12:27 PM by Lollie Garay
Happy Birthday!<br/><br/>Credit: lollie garay
Happy Birthday!
Photo Credit: lollie garay

May 28

Lat/Long: 06.48N  049.58W

Air Temp: 27.4C 81.32F

Surface Temp: 29.05C 84.29F

Salinity: 34.86 psu


Where the Plume meets the Ocean.


We’re celebrating five birthdays today! Chief Scientist Tish Yager leads the list of honorees that includes WHOI Tech Ellen Roosen, Steward Felix Wharton 3rd Mate Bree Ogden, Grad students Sarah Weber (the big 20!!) and Miram Gleiber.

The lab and mess area took on a celebratory look with birthday decorations and we enjoyed cake and ice cream with dinner. 


Our transit route has changed a bit. We’ve traveled about 1 degree north of where we were on Thursday. We’re now at a point where the Amazon Plume meets the ocean. In fact, just looking at the sea, there is a change of color- from greenish-brown to blue!

According to Tish, the plume here is thicker (20m) than it was yesterday  (10m) at station 4. This was based on the salinity profile  and was a surprise to the scientists who are trying figure out why.   Imagine that there’s a glass of water with a thin fresh layer on top, and a thicker salty layer below. The wind is like a huge mixer that stirs the two layers in the glass, creating a single thicker final layer with medium salinity. The Amazon plume continues to raise questions about its dynamics.


Tonight there was a special show off the starboard side of the ship. Pods of squid came up to feed on the smaller fish that were attracted to the lights on deck. Before long, the deck was lined by people armed with cameras. We even deployed the underwater cam to try to capture the moment. We learned right away that squid are very hard to photograph in their element- they dart about extremely fast !


I end this post with a special survey I took this morning. First let me explain that there are ALWAYS continuous sounds and noises on a ship. However, those of us bunking on the lower level are treated to amazing sounds as the sea meets the ship during night transits from one station to another. Its hard for me to explain what it sounds like, so I decided to ask others to describe it. Here are the responses:


Brian: Its a “clank”, then “Tooooo Tooooo”

Deb & Rachel: More like “thumps” and clangs”

Patricia: A”shwoosh” and lots of vibrations

Matt: like a “Trrrrr” and a hum

Laurie: its a “stuttering”

Brandon: “Wooooosh”

Me: “clank, grind,a vibrating whoppp, shssss”

In spite of all the noise, everyone agreed that the rolling of the ship is great for putting you sleep!


Goodnight from the plume,



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Question of the Day

  • Do the bacteria in the water make us sick?

    Only a few of them.  Bacteria are in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, hot springs, radioactive waste, water, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. Bacteria recycle nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as nitrogen fixation.