Easter Microplate Expedition
March 30, 2005 Day 19

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Transit day. We are steaming at 12 knots NNW from 31°S to 23.5°S to a dive site on the NW corner of the Easter Microplate. We'll have several dives here and possibly some dredging. We have one remaining dive site at 26°N, and then there's a short, overnight run to Easter Island at the end. The weather continues to be excellent: sunny with blue skies, comfortable swell, and the daytime temperatures steadily increasing as we work north, to a pleasant 24°C (75°F) today.

Tevnia1cm.jpg (65639 bytes)Tevnia anterior. This juvenile vestimentiferan, Tevnia, was taken from near a hot smoker. All that can be seen of the worm is its plume emerging from the white tube. The plume is made up of filaments packed with blood vessels as well a white plug, the obturaculum, that closes the tube when the worm withdraws to protect against predators such as crabs. Field width is 1 cm. Photo by Greg Rouse, South Australian Museum.
trophosome1mm.JPG (116826 bytes)Closeup of trophosome of the vestimentiferan Oasisia. The trophosome is packed with developing sperm or eggs as well as blood vessels and tissue full of symbiotic bacteria. Field width is 1mm. Photo by Greg Rouse, South Australian Museum.
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Left image: Crab recruit. A young bythograeid crab that has recently settled from the plankton. Field width is 5mm. Right image: Echinopelta (4mm). Another limpet, with small spines all over its shell. Found near vents. Photo by Greg Rouse, South Australian Museum.

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First Mate Mitzi, our medical officer, keeping clinic hours in the ship's hospital. She says the most common cases are injuries, like grit blowing into eyes during rust removal work, fingers getting caught in bulkhead doors, and injuries from ping-pong games. The hospital has five beds (three shown here), medications and first aid equipment, and perhaps most importantly, a telephone that connects via satellite to the 24-hour Medical Advisory Service.

PingPong2_640.JPG (66690 bytes)Semifinals of the cruise-long ping-pong tournament: Ana vs. the Captain. Both are seasoned, ruthless players. The games were neck-and-neck, hard-fought, and no-holds-barred, with precision hits, wild spins, and fast attacks. In the end, the Captain reigned supreme.
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Mark (Alvin tech) juggling while balancing on one of Alvin's rails.

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This expedition has been made possible by National Science Foundation grants to Dr. Robert Vrijenhoek (NSF OCE-0241613) and Dr. Cindy Van Dover (NSF OCE-0350554)

All underwater photos were taken with the submersible Alvin, and are courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.