If there is one piece of equipment that I dread it’s the MOCNESS. I wrote a little about the MOC 2 years ago but we didn’t use it much. This thing is a beast and we use it at almost every station.
The MOC is used to sample plankton at multiple depths. They use 5 nets but that number can be increased. One net stays open all the way down until we hit about 100 meters. At the 100 meter mark we close that net and open another as the MOC starts to come up. This net stays open until the MOC reaches 75 meters. A new net is triggered every 25 meters until we get to it to the surface. Of course you get all types of cool creatures coming into these nets, larvae of all kind: eels, crabs, lobster and parrot fish.
All of that amazing stuff comes to an end when you have to “cock the MOC” when it comes back on board. This MOC has to be about 40 years old so I am sure there is a newer model out there that doesn’t take as much! The nets are attached to heavy bars that have to be pulled up to the top of the frame and reset. Not only are these bars heavy but the net attached to it is huge and wet. So we have decided to make this a team effort. Everyone gets a side, we squat and then we pull as we walk backwards towards the top of the MOC frame. But wait that’s not it! Then you have to connect the wires for each net to the CORRECT release mechanism, that’s another task within itself. But when somebody messes up, all the jokes come out.
Today the Day shift did just that, they accidentally crossed the wires for the nets stopping them from closing properly. Good thing the Night shift caught it before it went into the water. We fixed it but not before being a bit petty with the Day shift. Check out the memes we left around the lab.
Aside from all of that work, we had a man overboard drill. They threw a life ring overboard and everyone had to keep their eye on it while we all mustered on the main deck. They had to maneuver the ship to get in position to save the ring (i.e. a lot of water splashing and rolling). One of the NOAA Corps officers jumped into the water to save the ring. Just let me remind you we are in the open ocean, no land in sight. When I tell you this man was fast, I mean it took him two seconds to get to that ring. It was awesome! When he got back on board everyone clapped and cheered, it was really cool, I felt like I wanted to go for a swim.