By Doug Biggs and Dean Letzring
The Gyre today [51K]
During the period 1993-1995, 3 of the 6 UNOLS Intermediate Class vessels (ENDEAVOR, OCEANUS, and WECOMA) will undergo mid-life refits to upgrade their laboratory and living spaces and otherwise extend their capability to support science at sea. GYRE will not experience such a refit, partially because in 1980-81 we extensively remodeled our vessel and added a new deckhouse to enclose some 366 square meters of laboratory and living space to create the present Main Deck wet lab, main lab and workshop areas and the 01 Deck electronics lab, marine chem lab, lounge, and the pair of 4-person staterooms. Since that renovation, GYRE accomodates up to 23 scientists and 10 crew.
GYRE completed 12 cruises totalling 153 days at sea in 1993 and will begin scientific missions again in late-April, 1994. Currently, GYRE is undergoing a wintertime major face-lift to the exterior superstructure. Since mid-November, 1993 our Marine Operations staff, assisted by work-study students at TAMU Galveston, have been sandblasting the ship to remove several layers of old paint and expose bare metal before new finishes are applied.
Completed areas include the upper deck of the superstructure, the rear bulkhead, vents, after control house, and the winch deck area. The main deck and trawl winch are being refit in March-April, along with the U frames and bulwarks. The articulated deck crane, which has served so well over the years, has been removed for a complete mechanical and cosmetic overhaul by the manufacturer. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is financially supporting the deck-crane refit in full as part of this year's grant for "Shipboard Scientific Equipment". In addition, NSF will provide funds to replace GYRE's aging bridge echosounder with a color Furuno model which has an extended depth range to 1000 meters. A recent dry-docking provided the opportunity to install a companion doppler speed log, also provided by NSF.
Other plans for the GYRE this spring include a sidescan sonar system and possibly a gravity meter. Improvements to the engineroom will bring a more efficient fresh water evaporator and a portable diesel fire fighting pump, both sponsored through an NSF grant. We also expect to enhance the GYRE's living quarters by upgrading and repairing the scientific staterooms and lounge area.
The first oceanographic cruise in 1994 will involve a two-week hydrographic survey of the Louisiana-Texas shelf (April 23-May 6), to be directed by Ms. Carrie Neuhard and Dr. Denis Wiesenburg. TAMU and the US Minerals Management Service will co-sponsor this hydrographic survey, which constitutes the 8th in a series of ten surveys which began in April 1992 and will run through November 1994.
Co-Chief Scientists Drs. Bill Bryant and Aubrey Anderson will follow up this LATEX fieldwork with a one-week, state-sponsored cruise to the Pygmy Basin area of the Louisiana continental slope (May 9-14), for graduate student training and research. This cruise (94G-02) will continue and extend a collaborative program started last fall (cruise 93G-09) with reseachers from the Offshore Technology Center and the Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center.
Oceanography, Texas A&M University
Updated July 20, 1995