Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Newportal Blog

A gateway to oceanographic adventures from the Newport Line and beyond

Blog on ocean conditions along the Newport Line and the northern CA Current.

What's happening 200 miles off Newport?

By Jennifer Fisher
February 17, 2016

We've just returned from a research cruise where we finally sampled the entire Newport Line out to 200 miles over the past few days. Rough weather and boat issues over the past few months have precluded us from sampling the entire line since last November, which is the longest stretch without continuous sampling since 1996.

This trip, we were aboard the NOAA ship Bell Shimada. We left the safe harbor of Newport on Feb 13 and quickly entered angry seas of 12' swells and gusts of wind to 40+ kts. Our original plan was to sample two core stations nearshore, but the rough weather did not allow that. Instead, we steamed offshore to 200 miles and arrived there at 1800 on Valentine's Day. The weather mostly cooperated afterward, and sampling went well at 16 stations spanning from 200 miles offshore to 1 mile from shore near Newport.

A few highlights- the strong winds mixed much of the ocean and there was only a 0.5°C difference in sea surface temperature between the beach and 200 miles from shore. Normally, we'd expect more of a gradient with warmer water offshore. The water column was also well mixed down to ~80 m. We collected a lot of juvenile (really really small) Velella velella (by-the-wind sailor) offshore in our surface-oriented plankton net, which was something nobody on board had seen before. These juveniles got a little larger and larger as we sampled closer and closer to shore. We collected very few krill, and the few that we did collect were quite small. My stomach was never settled enough to try the pig's feet that they served twice during this short 4 day cruise.

Stay tuned, and I'll post the oceanographic contours and some pictures next week, after I get a little sleep.

Tagged: NH line

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