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September 4, 2010

Saturday, September 04, 2010

BY: wrace


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


Oceana Latitude – Another hard working day notched into the belt. After today the Oceana team can check three more moorings off the list. Today started in similar fashion as the last few days, early morning, eat breakfast and hoisted a mooring. What separated today from the others were jellyfish and canyons.

To this point the Oceana team has been relatively lucky in terms of accidents and painful encounters. Yet today after an “easy” first set, we went for another and boy did we get a surprise. Everything was normal at first, and then it happened. Jellyfish started floating past the line. Minutes later, as the crew pulled the line through the winch. Jelly slime began to pass through hands. Unnoticed at first, soon people began to squirm.

Jellyfish sting their prey using nematocysts which are their stinging structures located in specialized cells called cindocytes. In our case the stinging structures of the Jellies wrapped around the long line and in some cases stuck. As the crew pulled in the line the cindocytes transferred from the rope to the gloves of the team. Minutes later the fun issued.  When nematocysts pierce the skin they inject venom. The venom is very uncomfortable, and sometimes requires medical assistance. Luckily for us no such medical assistance was needed.  But we all immediately washed off and changed clothes after the set.

The second adventure of the day started when we arrive to pick up the third mooring of the day. The buoy was being reeled in and suddenly it sank. Tension consumed the line attached to the boat. The crew struggled to secure the line. The struggle was to no avail as moments later line the snapped and we lost the set. The mooring was placed in an area near an underwater canyon and many of the crew think that by roping the buoy in we caused the anchor to go past the tipping point and fall into the canyon.  Fortunately on our last mooring of the day, there were no canyons or jellyfish and we successfully retrieved our test strips, and were treated to another beautiful sunset.

Tomorrow is the last working day of the trip. Two more moorings and a CDT scan are on the schedule. Stay tuned!

Gulf of Mexico Expedition: OL Chieff Engineer Seann Rosen statements, engine room (September 04, 2010) from Oceana on Vimeo.