May 23, 2005
Hello from Gray’s Reef, Leg III of the 2005 Gray’s
Reef Expedition. My name is Ryan Yaden and I’ll be
sending daily logs to the Oceanica site for this leg of
the Gray’s Reef expedition. I just graduated from
the College of Charleston with a degree in Marine Biology
and look forward to an exciting cruise with many encounters
with marine organisms.
was the first day at sea for Leg III. We left port in
Savannah and traveled down the Savannah River, then out
to Gray’s Reef which took about 4.5 hours. We are
on the NOAA Ship NANCY FOSTER, with 13 scientists representing
NOS/NMS, Georgia Southern, University of AL, and Project
Oceancia. On the way out to the reef all of the scientists
prepared themselves and the ship for the research about
to take place. Preparations involved setting up the aquarium
tanks so that live specimens could be collected, and making
sure that everything was stowed properly so that it did
not move during the voyage. Also everyone was very busy
readying their scuba diving gear for the first dive of
with all cruises, safety is a priority. NOAA Corps officer,
Ensign Tracy Hamburger gave us all a safety briefing after
which we had a fire drill and an abandon ship drill.
we finally reached the reef we ‘hit the sea running’
and got the divers in the water. Unfortunately, there
was a very strong current, and one team of divers was
not successful in reaching the moored buoy that marks
the portion of the reef being studied. A second dive team
was successful. The reef at the buoy has low relief (about
one to two feet) and consists of mostly sponges and tunicates.
Surprisingly enough they did find many large fish, such
as scamp and gag grouper as well as two large nurse sharks.
tomorrow we will be able to bring in some live invertebrate
specimens and some photographs of the reef.