Sunday 11 December 2023
We set sail from Santos Harbour on Tuesday afternoon (Dec 6). The tow cam winch installation required more time than expected, and we all wanted to make sure the system was fully functional and running as safely as possible before we left to our mission.
On Wednesday 7 Dec, we headed towards our deepest study area (1000 m) to collect box core sediment samples. These samples will feed experiments in the ship’s wet lab set up by Dany Yepes and her team from UFES, as part of iAtlantic’s work on cumulative stresssors.
But before that we made a stop at a 250 m deep station to perform a tow cam test. This was essential to get us all familiarised with the camera operation before we reach the target exploration area in Santos Basin upper slope (300 – 800 m water depth).
Box core sampling was conducted at night, preceded by CTD casts to record water column conditions and collect deep-sea water to run the experiments in the lab.
The next day (Thursday 8 Dec) we proceeded with seafloor mapping using multibeam ecosounder, at water depths between 800 and 700 m. We identified pockmarks and other features of interest, and made plans for tow cam profiles.
On Friday (9 Dec) we started our first tow cam deployment very early in the morning, and conducted a 2-hour ‘flight’ over a very interesting sedimented pockmark area with abundant fish and shrimp species. We also observed some hard bottom at the rim of the pockmark with anemones, black corals and sponges.
Unfortunately we have since encountered some technical problems with the camera system and we are trying hard to fix it with the great help of the dedicated crew of RV Vital de Oliveira. Meanwhile, we carry on mapping the area and describing very interesting previously unknown geological features which we hope we will be able to explore later on with the tow cam. Fingers crossed!