Hello everyone, Stephen Ell again coming to you from aboard the R/V Endeavor. We have reached our VAC destination and released the final lander! Today is our last full day at our Virginia site before we begin our voyage back up the coast to port. Since the landers are all deployed there is a large sense of relief throughout our lander team as we pack up the lander supplies to be ready for transport upon arrival at University of Rhode Island. Since we are finished with lander related tasks, we have shifted our efforts to our pole-mounted transducers, which are mapping the sea floor and the deep water acoustic scattering layers. At this site there has been a large spike in acoustic scatter which means there is an abundance of ocean life.
Within our current ocean region, there are various species of visible wildlife. Dolphins have surrounded the boat since the moment we arrived on this VAC site. Large schools of tuna have been seen feeding frantically at the surface. Sharks have been spotted patrolling the surfaces, swimming with an unparalleled swagger that screams that they are not the ones to be trifled with. These sightings have become more and more constant. The flying bridge, above the navigation bridge, is the ideal place to see them, and it becomes a watering hole for the scientists as well as the crew. My favorite part of life on the ocean is the magnificent views and beautiful sunsets seen from atop the flying bridge.