BobGeo 2009. Days 9 and 10 – It’s all go

Friday 23rd October

The sea was much calmer yesterday, there was still a slight swell but nothing like the previous two days. Calypso and Scampi both deployed successfully.

You can now read the French version of this blog and we are now also able to send videos to YouTube!Thursday was busy day with Calypso and Scampi being deployed in the afternoon and evening which is why this blog covers two days.

Yesterday I finally managed to get hold of some software that allowed me to edit the video clips. Editing video can take up quite a lot of time, and I spent most of the morning preparing some clips for YouTube. Because of the limited amount of access to the Internet I was only able to get one large video and one short one posted before it was time to go and listen to Brigitte Guillaumont’s presentation ‘CoralFish et Cartographie des ecosystemes coralliens’ or ‘CoralFish – Mapping the ecosystems of corals’.

Brigitte answers questions about her presentation

After the presentation it was time to go and observe Calypso being deployed and later Scampi. It was not until around 1.30am before I managed upload a third video. At this time of night the connection is much faster. You can now view the videos at YouTube

As the swell had subsided we were able to deploy Calypso in the afternoon. After descending to over 1000m Calypso returned with a very good core of some 15m in length.

The Piston that helps to maintain the sediment core within Calypso as it is lifted back to the surface

The point of the core which seemed to cause a bit of excitement

It is not all work on board the Pourquoi pas? before dinner we had a small party to celebrate Benoit Loubrieu’s birthday and Fabien Paquet being told that his position within BRGM (French Geological Survey) has been made permanent. Congratulations to both of them.


Benoit is a cartographer and is responsible for producing the maps from the data that the Multibeam system records. Fabien is a Geologist, his main interest is in sedimentology. He is also a bit of a joker and has a wicked sense of humour he can get everyone laughing with just a look!

After dinner it was time to go down to the Scampi control room and watch the video as Scampi was towed along behind us. It went down to 1200m and this time there were many more corals to be seen.

Scampi ready for deployment

One of the many pictures that Scampi captured last night on its first deployment. This one shows the live corals (the light coloured ones) growing through dead ones.

More corals

Scampi finished it first deployment just after midnight and was redeployed again just after 1:00am this morning. A video of it being deployed and recovered should be available on YouTube before long.

Today I was finally able to post French translations of the blogs on another website which supported accents. It took most of the day, in between observing the various deployments that took place today, the counter-balance sediment grab, the Module Autonomous Pluridisciplinerie (MAP) lander and the Sediment Trap.

While all this was going on people were busy dealing with the core that Calypso brought back yesterday.

Linda Rossignol studies the taxonomy of the planktonic foraminifera. (What is taxonomy? Click here to find out)

This picture was taken through the lens of Linda's microscope with a simple digital camera which is why the picture is dark. The arrow is pointing to the animal that Linda is interested in.

She is looking for Foraminifers which are small single cell animals with a shell of calcium which are about 200μm in size. There are many different species of this type of animal and the ones that Linda was partiularly interested in are called Neogloboquadria Pachyderma. If she finds around 98% of this animal in a layer of the core, it indicates that the the layer was laid down during a glacial period.

The first of the deployments today was the counter-balanced sediment grab which proved to be reasonably successful. When the contents of the grab were examined it was found contain lots of pieces of coral some of which were alive.

Brigitte collects the content of the grab

Brigitte (left) and Sophie sort the corals for examination

A piece of live coral

Not only did the sample contain corals, it also contain some other live animals. This is one of the larger specimens - a polychaete, a type of worm which is associated with corals.


Next to be deployed was the Module Autonomous Pluridisciplinerie (MAP) Lander which Alexis Khripounoff is responsible for. This lander will be left in the sea for one year before it is recovered. It has many functions as its name implies, it can measure the sea temperature, turbidity (how cloudy the water is), it measures and records the current every 30 minutes, oxygen levels every 10 minutes and takes a photograph every 90 minutes.

Deploying the MAP lander

The Sediment Trap was the last piece of equipment to be deployed

The Sediment or Particle Trap will also be deployed for one year and will collect the detritus (the small bits and pieces that fall through the sea and sink to the bottom). In case you are wandering about the quality of these pictures, I still do not really have my ‘sea legs’ and I would not trust myself getting any nearer to the stern of the ship while the rails are down for the deployments. These guys must have glue on the soles of their boots and nerves of steel as there was still quite a big swell. The fog was also starting to close in which is also why the pictures are a bit dark.

This brings me to the end of a busy two days, all I have to do now is get this checked for any mistakes and then post it on the blog pages. I may get finished by midnight if lucky and the internet uplink is working slightly faster than it has been throughout the day.

This entry was posted in BobGeo 2009. Bookmark the permalink.