The day has come and the R/V Weatherbird II has set sail!  I am absolutely amazed with the crew of this ship.  Everyone has their own job and responsibilities and it seems like they work together like a well-oiled machine.  Most of the supplies were loaded the day before so that this morning could be dedicated to a smooth send-off with the passengers.  We met at 7:00 am with an anticipated departure of 8:00 am.  All together, we have approximately 6 crew dedicated to the ship and approximately 12 people in the science party.  We were gathered for a very thorough captain’s meeting regarding our responsibilities and expectations while on board.  Introductions were made as well.  Afterwards, we had a safety drill on deck where very important information was relayed regarding any possible scenario.  The attitude on board is one of relaxed and friendly professionalism.  While some people are experienced at sea, some of us are newbies with little to no experience on board a ship.  Safety comes first always!   Lastly, the science party met to discuss the overall activities for this cruise.  From the cruise plan:


The goal of this cruise is to investigate the impact of the BP oil spill on the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, focusing on the lower end of the water column food web.  Researchers from the College of Marine Science (USF) and RSMAS/University of Miami will assess the impact of oil on Florida marine ecosystems by comparing non-impacted west Florida shelf and impacted north Florida shelf sites.


We are on our way!