Marine Fauna Field Course - 5
Day 5 (delayed post): Today I volunteered to help on the vessel with the soft sediment dredge and sieving. Bad but also a good decision to endure the cold wind and rain for 3.5 hours. The dredge was put in the water and the boat either pulled it for too long of a distance, or the speed was too slow. The mesh was full of a couple tons of very fine sediment (the kind people pay money to lay in at spas). It was too heavy to pull on board right away so the skipper tried to pull it near the surface for a while to lose some of the contents. Fail...Then they pulled it up a little higher and sprayed a hose over it for a a while...Then they were able to get the gear on board.
As soon as it was laid down, a heap of mud came out of the front of the dredge all over the deck. The crew then attempted to put a rope around the bottom end to collect the more important part of the sample, but when it was raised, it pulled up the top more than the bottom part that they wanted and even more mud spewed over the deck. Apparently, the crew was saying things along the lines of: "This is going to shit" and "This looks like a pile of shit". Very entertaining in that sense and it was quite comical, so I really wished I had brought my camera to get pictures and video. (I was warned it would be dirty so I left my camera in my room)
Then came the labor-intensive part of shoveling some sediment into a sieve and running the hose over it to only keep the larger fractions, then taking that water over another smaller sieve to get the smaller fractions. Two and a half hours later we got back to the station and my feet were so frozen. I felt like I had a brick taped to the bottom of each of my feet as I walked up to the building. An hour later I was thawed out and back in the lab to look at the tiny critters that were so hard to collect.