Shortly after breakfast on Sunday the ship turned the corner into Unalaska Bay. I was in the computer lab looking at the bathymetry data from the previous night’s transit through Umnak Pass, when I glanced over at the nautical chart with the ship’s real time position and noticed the ship’s path was on course to put us near a wreckage symbol. I immediately called the bridge and asked if they could divert the ship to pass directly over the wreck. The nautical chart doesn’t give anything specific about the nature of the wreck nor its size, but since the multi beam was still on and we were in only 150 m of water, it would be an easy opportunity to test what the EM302 system can image. Kim was on watch and said she could alter the course slightly so we would pass by the wreck:
To my surprise, we actually saw a nice anomaly on the multi beam system, see the image below. The bottom plot shows shaded colors corresponding to the seafloor depth. The wreck is the obvious red and yellow colored anomaly; those colors indicated it rises about 5-10 m off the seabed. The gray scale image at the top of the image shows the backscatter intensity, with the wreck being the obvious high amplitude anomaly near the upper right. That was neat to see, but it leaves me wondering what the ship’s name is, what caused it to wreck and what happened to its crew. There are lots of wrecks shown on the nautical charts around Unalaska and Umnak Islands, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the weather played a big factor for many of the wrecks.
As we got closer to Dutch Harbor, we passed by the sheer cliff face on the northeastern side of Amaknak Island. We noticed that it looked like there were several old WWII bunkers along its top edge:
We arrived at port and quickly unloaded the marine EM support gear and packed it into two of our 20′ containers, which will be stored in Dutch Harbor until our recovery cruise that starts the second week of July. Later in the afternoon we drove up to the top of the sheer cliff face on Amaknak Island and enjoyed the view from the top side now:
Here’s our only photo of the entire marine MT deployment team. We didn’t have a selfie stick, so Jake took one picture of the group and I took another, then I photoshopped myself back into the one with Jake in it:
So this concludes the first phase of the project. I’d like to thank the great team of people that helped us pull off this cruise, including the Captain and crew of the RV Thompson and all the members of the science team. Job well done!
On Monday, Georgie and I will head off with the land geophysics team to the Bering Pacific Ranch at Fort Glenn on Umnak Island while the remainder of the marine MT team leaves Dutch Harbor for home or personal travel in Alaska. Paul, Ninfa, Matt, Summer and Tim from the land team arrived in Dutch Harbor Saturday after their Friday flights were cancelled due to weather. They came by the ship shortly after we pulled in Sunday. It was great to meet up with everyone in person after all of our phone calls and emails planning the project this past spring. I gave them a tour of the Thompson and afterwards we talked about logistics for the land project, including our evolving plans for transporting the remaining field gear, food and personnel over to the ranch in the next day or two. That part of the project is going to be truly epic and i’m looking forward to the field work. There is some uncertainty as to whether the internet at the ranch will be fixed while we are there, so there is a good chance this may be my last post to this website until I return to Dutch Harbor on July 7th to mobilize the RV Sikuliaq for the marine MT recovery cruise. But despair not, i’ll be posting the back log of posts from Umnak Island to this blog as soon as I’m back online, and yes, i’m bringing the drone to the volcano. Bye for now!