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January 1, 2011
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The sunrise over Maui was beautiful. We were holding station next to Molokini, a sunken volcanic crater that is the site of some of the premier snorkeling in this area.

Yesterday, I had a marathon watch that flew by. We were doing tow-yo’s where we towed the CTD 10-20m off the bottom. It was kind of nerve-wracking at first because I had never done a deployment like this before. We sent the CTD down to 1200m beneath the surface and I realized that I had no idea where the sea floor was. All of my acoustic depth sounders said that the sea floor was at around 1050m … which didn’t make sense because the CTD was at 1200m and not touching the bottom. There’s an altimeter on the CTD but it’s a little flakey and was definitely not going to give accurate readings when it was at an angle as a result of towing it. So I started getting very nervous and woke up the other marine tech.

We decided to put a pinger on it and use our 12kHz sonar to identify when it was approaching the bottom. That worked perfectly. It’s kind of cool to think about how much better I’ve gotten at interpreting acoustic instruments. I really like acoustics – it’s really amazing how much we can learn about the ocean by beeping at it.

By the time my watch ended, I had been doing tow-yo’s for 7 straight hours – so I was getting pretty good at it. We were going over a crater on Loihi Seamount so the seafloor kept changing. I had to stay on my toes to let the winch operator know when to come up because the seafloor was coming up.

Now we’re at Cross Seamount doing more mapping. Tonight, we’re going to set off fireworks for New Years … so that should be exciting!

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