Vance Expedition
July 24 - August 6, 2006

July 24 update

Jenny Paduan writes: Last week we loaded most of our supplies onto the ship and tested our control-room software, so today we just needed to grab some remaining things and load our personal gear. Most of our science party flew in today from various points in the US and Canada. Many have never been to sea before. There was some surprise and disappointment that flip-flops are forbidden anywhere on the ship except your cabin and most of the crew wear steel-toed work-boots.

We departed at 23:00 local time from Moss Landing. The channel is rather shallow, so we had to depart during high tide. That timing actually worked well for me, because when my world starts to pitch and roll, about all I want to do is sleep anyway. The fog was thick (temperatures in the inland valleys and even in Monterey have been setting record highs, and that hot air rises, which draws the cooler marine air in to shore). The lights of the Moss Landing power plant were glowing through the mist but the plant's details were obscured, making it resemble some alien spaceship. As they do day or night, fog or none, sea lions were hanging out on the navigation buoys offshore. The seas were glassy calm enough that the buoys' bells didn't toll except when our wake passed. We proceeded through the misty darkness of Monterey Bay, called onward by the sea sirens and our visions of pillow lavas.

The R/V Zephyr at the pier in Moss Landing, with an AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle, the yellow, torpedo-shape) on the fantail.


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