A beautiful morning in Guaymas, but soon it is time to leave; Atlantis will sail for Guaymas Basin at noon.
We start a round of many meetings. At 10 AM, the Atlantis ship crew meets the science crew, and tells them about the rules and requirements of shipboard life; everyone has to show consideration and common sense, and know what one is doing. Here Captain Al Lunt introduces himself to the scientists.
The transit to Guaymas Basin provides some time for Alvin introductions; the pilots take the scientific observers into the sub for a quick guided tour of essential procedures, for example what to do when the pilot is incapacitated. Here Alvin pilot jefferson Grau is chatting with microbiologist Gunter Wegener of the Max-Planck-Instititute for marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. Gunter and his colleagues are continuing isolations of alkane-degrading anaerobic bacteria and archaea from the Guaymas sediments – a notoriously difficult and slow-growing physiological type that is surprisingly widespread in Guaymas Basin, both in the bacterial and the archaeal domain of life.
At 2 pm, the science party is summoned to the Abandon-Ship emergency drill, and everyone who has not yet tried on the cozy survival suits can do so now and have his/her picture taken. From left to right, graduate student Chris Chambers (UNC), postdoc Viola Krukenberg (Montana State Univ.), Marit van Erk (MPI Bremen), Roland and Vivian (previously introduced), graduate student Rachael Karns (UGA), and – reposing in front – graduate student Cedric Hahn (MPI Bremen).
All afternoon and into the evening, the Alvin group is hard at work, here with customizing the Alvin basket and making sure that the core quivers and boxes for over 40 cores, the biobox, and the temperature probe are mounted according to the specifications of the dive team. Alvin Expedition leader Todd Litke on the left discusses the fine details with pilots Danik Forsman (in the foreground) and Jefferson. The sub will be set up for a mud battle.
Until late into the night, Gunter, Cedric and Viola are labelling Alvin push cores – to be mounted on the Alvin basket at 5 AM, and to be readied for the journey to the bottom of Guaymas Basin tomorrow in the morning. And from this underworld, the cores will return like samples from another planet, filled with the most wonderful, smelly, sulfidic and oily hydrothermal mud.