NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Tropical Exploration 2015





Photo and Video Log

This page contains photos and videos taken during the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Tropical Exploration 2015 expedition. Click on any image to view a larger version and for additional information. For video, multiple video formats are available on the linked pages.

(HR) = "High Resolution" images available.

Images (Mission Logs) | Images (Background Essays)

 


Images (Mission Logs)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer passes Castillo San Felipe del Morro as she departs San Juan Harbor.

May 13 Log
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer passes Castillo San Felipe del Morro as she departs San Juan Harbor. (HR)

During the first day of the expedition, we mapped these canyon features along the Arecibo Amphitheater. Figure created in Fledermaus.

May 13 Log
During the first day, we mapped these canyon features along the Arecibo Amphitheater. (HR)

At the conclusion of Océano Profundo, Tropical Exploration 2015 sailed from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Panama City, Panama.

May 13 Log
At the end of Océano Profundo, Tropical Exploration 2015 sailed from San Juan to Panama City. (HR)

As ROV Deep Discoverer approached, this sea toad (Chaunax sp.) “walked” away.

May 13 Log
As ROV Deep Discoverer approached, this sea toad (Chaunax sp.) “walked” away. (HR)

Okeanos Explorer enters the Panama Canal.

May 13 Log
Okeanos Explorer enters the Panama Canal.

The locks of the Panama Canal closing behind Okeanos Explorer

May 13 Log
The locks of the Panama Canal closing behind Okeanos Explorer

Order of the Ditch certificate that the Okeanos Explorer team received as they passed through the Panama Canal.

May 15 Log
Order of the Ditch certificate that the team received as they passed through the Panama Canal. (HR)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer crosses through the Panama Canal.

May 15 Log
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer crosses through the Panama Canal.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer crosses through the Panama Canal.

May 16 Log
As we left the Panama Canal, ships were waiting for their turn to transit through the canal into the Atlantic Ocean.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer crosses through the Panama Canal.

May 16 Log
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer approaches the Bridge of the Americas, officially leaving the Panama Canal.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer crosses through the Panama Canal.

May 16 Log
During an abandon ship drill, new mission personnel were required to don immersion suits.

Collecting and processing high-resolution mapping data is done from the Mission Control room. Here we monitor the sonars, clean and process files, and use specialized software to visualize seafloor features in three-dimensions..

May 20 Log
Collecting and processing high-resolution mapping data is done from the Mission Control room. (HR)

To effectively explore the oceans, we need a good crew to safely navigate and drive the ship. Here’s three of our female crew members taking control at the helm.

May 20 Log
To effectively explore the oceans, we need a good crew to safely navigate and drive the ship. (HR)

Kate von Krusenstiern, an Explorer-in-Training from Bellingham, Washington, casting an expendable-bathy-thermograph (XBT) off the stern of the ship to measure the temperature of the water column.

May 20 Log
Kate von Krusenstiern casting an expendable-bathy-thermograph to measure temperature of the water column. (HR)

The last few days have been a flurry of emails, meetings, phone calls, and schedule revisions between the ship and shore as the decision was made to divert NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer from her current course to head to the west coast of the United States for an emergency dry dock repair period.

May 22 Log
The last few days have been a flurry of emails, meetings, phone calls, and schedule revisions.

A fleet of approximately 3800 floats takes measurements of temperature and salinity in the upper 2000 meters of the ocean every 10 days.

May 22 Log 2
Shortly after getting underway from Panama, the sea snake was deployed and began to collect data. (HR)

Complete system for surface salinity measurements.

May 22 Log 2
Interior set up of the Salinity Sea Snake in the wet lab of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. (HR)

Shipboard system for surface salinity measurements.

May 22 Log 2
Once water is pulled into the wet lab, it is then carefully filtered, de-bubbled, sterilized and analyzed. (HR)

Explorers in Training Mike Barber and Kate von Krusenstiern process data in the control room while we transit through the Mexican EEZ.

May 23 Log
Mike Barber and Kate von Krusenstiern process data in the control room while we transit through the Mexican EEZ. (HR)

Sunset onboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as we head north for our emergency dry dock repair period.

May 23 Log
Sunset onboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as we head north for our emergency dry dock repair period. (HR)

During this expedition we are transiting over the East Pacific Rise, this region is marked by chains of seamounts and small undersea mountains called knolls.

May 25 Log
During this expedition, we are transiting over the East Pacific Rise. (HR)

This feature is likely a knoll, which is an underwater mountain, usually of volcanic origin, that rises between 300 and 1000 m above the surrounding seafloor.

May 25 Log
This feature is likely a knoll, which is an underwater mountain.

This knoll is located on the flank of a larger seamount in the eastern Pacific Ocean about 200 miles off the Costa Rican coast in 2500 m of water.

May 25 Log
This knoll is located on the flank of a larger seamount in the eastern Pacific Ocean about 200 miles off Costa Rica.

Uncleaned multibeam data. Part of the job of the Explorer in Training is to clean any erroneous data which helps with quality control.

May 26 Log
Part of the job of the Explorer in Training is to clean any erroneous data which helps with quality control. (HR)

Explorers in Training Abigail Casavant (middle) and Mike Barber (right) are given a ship orientation by Expedition Coordinator Lindsay McKenna (left) as NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer left the Panama Canal.

May 30 Log
Abigail Casavant and Mike Barber are given a ship orientation by Lindsay McKenna. (HR)

Preparing for an XBT cast. On NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer we need to conduct an XBT every 4-6 hours to ensure we have accurate information about the sound velocity in the area we are mapping.

May 30 Log
Preparing for an XBT cast. (HR)

On the screens of the control room from left to right: digital nautical charts that show our relative position; data acquisition screens from the EK60 and sub-bottom profiler sonars; multibeam data processing in CARIS. At the top of the image is the UTC time and the data acquisition screen from the EM302 multibeam sonar. You can also see the RTS intercom units that we use to communicate throughout the ship and with shore underneath the computer screens.

May 30 Log
Control room screens: digital nautical charts; data acquisition screens from sonars; multibeam data processing. (HR)

We set a timeframe to map the ocean in ten years and calculated how many ships would be needed. Each vessel would map a specific geographic area. This method allows us to optimize time and technology. For example, wide angle sonars would be dedicated to mapping shallower areas, and Automated Underwater Vehicles (AUV) to map under ice-caps in polar areas.

June 2 Log
We set a timeframe to map the ocean in ten years and calculated how many ships would be needed. (HR)

This calculation takes into account the number of operational sea days for the vessel per year (190 days), the assumption that water shallower than 200 meters has already been mapped, a speed of 8 knots, and use of a predetermined EM302 swath angle table. All calculations were made using MatLab.

June 2 Log
How long would it take NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to map the world oceans? (HR)

This image from the NCEI  depicts 15.7 million nautical miles of  survey lines received from international sources. Track lines have been enlarged for visibility. Note blank areas on the map include the Arctic and Antarctica regions. These areas have been poorly mapped, and are part of our areas of interest in the campaign.

June 2 Log
The 15.7 million nautical miles of survey lines received from international sources. (HR)

A team of one hundred and four mapping research vessels would be required to map the ocean in one decade. This number is derived from calculations that determine how long it would take just the <em>Okeanos Explorer</em> to map the ocean. Remember, a standard research vessel operates for 190 days per year.

June 2 Log
A team of 104 mapping research vessels would be required to map the ocean in one decade. (HR)

In designing our campaign, we have four areas of interest, or priorities for mapping: polar regions,  plate boundaries, sites with potential energy and economic interests, sites of archaeological interest.

June 2 Log
In designing our campaign, we have four areas of interest, or priorities for mapping. (HR)

Sunsets on Okeanos Explorer are always one of the highlights of the day.

June 4 Log
Sunsets on Okeanos Explorer are always one of the highlights of the day. (HR)

From left to right: Mapping Watch Lead James Miller, Explorer in Training Jonathan Contugno, Expedition Coordinator Lindsay Mckenna, Scientist Julian Schanze, and Explorer in Training Abigail Casavant.

June 4 Log
James Miller, Jonathan Contugno, Lindsay Mckenna, Julian Schanze, and Abigail Casavant. (HR)

EM302 data collection screen. In 15-20 ft seas, like those we are in on our way to Bellingham, the system struggles to track bottom.

June 5 Log
View from the bridge of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as we navigate through 15 to 20-foot seas. (HR)

View from the bridge of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as we navigate through 15-20 ft seas. When we pitch into a particularly big wave, a large spray of water comes up over the bow.

June 5 Log
EM302 data collection screen. (HR)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer mapping underway.

June 6 Log
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer mapping underway. (HR)

Mills Cross configuration, separate transmit and receive arrays.

June 6 Log
Mills Cross configuration, separate transmit and receive arrays.

None of the sonars on the ship are standalone units, they all have transducers mounted on the hull of the ship and then a top-side unit located within the ship. The top-side unit does some signal processing on the acoustic returns. The top-side units are connected to computers that run data acquisition software.

June 6 Log
Top-side sonar units do some signal processing on the acoustic returns.

One of the EM302 transducers being installed on the ship’s hull back in 2008.

June 6 Log
One of the EM302 transducers being installed on the ship’s hull back in 2008. (HR)

Picture of the EK60 split-beam transducer mounted on the hull of the Okeanos Explorer.

June 6 Log
Picture of the EK60 split-beam transducer mounted on the hull of the Okeanos Explorer. (HR)

The volcanic features, Target K and Naung, have very similar conical shapes and depths at summits around 450-500m. Target K is 90Km south of Naung. Image courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

June 8 Log
The volcanic features, Target K and Naung, have similar shapes and depths. (HR)

During the transit to Bellingham, Washington, we encountered a number of whales and dolphins, including this pod of Pacific white sided dolphins who stayed with us for about an hour.

June 17 Log
During the transit to Bellingham, Washington, we encountered a number of whales and dolphins. (HR)

Once pulled out of the water, you can really appreciate the size of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, including the parts of the ship that lay below the waterline that we rarely see.

June 17 Log
Out of the water, you can really appreciate the size of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. (HR)

Commanding Officer Mark Wetzler observes operations as NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is pulled into dry dock.

June 17 Log
Commanding Officer Mark Wetzler observes operations as NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is pulled into dry dock. (HR)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in dry dock.

June 17 Log
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in dry dock. (HR)

En route to Bellingham, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer rode face 15 to 20-foot seas and high winds with gusts as high as 53 knots.

June 17 Log
En route to Bellingham, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer rode face 15 to 20-foot seas. (Video)

The mission team, joined by the Commanding and Executive Officers, alongside NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in San Francisco, CA.

June 17 Log
The mission team alongside NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in San Francisco. (HR)

Pacific Marine Environmenta Laboratory (PMEL) scientists, Dave Rivera and Kevin Micheal, discovered a PMEL buoy at the Exploratorium

June 17 Log
Pacific Marine Environmenta Laboratory scientists discovered a PMEL buoy at the Exploratorium. (HR)

Explorers in Training Mike Barber and Kate von Krusenstiern process and clean data during the transit north to dry dock.

June 17 Log
Mike Barber and Kate von Krusenstiern process and clean data during the transit north to dry dock. (HR)

Sunset at sea is often a highlight of the day.

June 17 Log
Sunset at sea is often a highlight of the day. (HR)

Arriving into San Francisco, CA.

June 17 Log
Arriving into San Francisco, CA. (HR)

Entering the Juan de Fuca Straights as NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer headed to Bellingham, Washington, for dry dock repairs.

June 17 Log
Entering the Juan de Fuca Straights as NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer headed to Bellingham, Washington. (HR)

Deploying the Salinity Snake. During this expedition, we tested a newly developed technology to measure sea surface salinity call the Salinity Snake.

June 17 Log
Deploying the Salinity Snake. (HR)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Images (Background Essays)

Proposed track lines for the ship during this expedition.

Mission Plan
Proposed track lines for the ship during this expedition. (HR)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, the only federal vessel dedicated to ocean exploration, set sail on a 7,000-nautical-mile-long journey from the Caribbean to the Pacific on May 8.

Mission Plan
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, the only federal vessel dedicated to ocean exploration, set sail on a 7,000-nautical-mile-long journey from the Caribbean to the Pacific on May 8. (HR)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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