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And Away We Go!

June 6, 2010

We have increased our average transit speed from 14kts to 17kts by turning on an extra engine in order to hasten our approach to Dutch. We’ve been having all sorts of issues with the multibeam including having the boards go bad (and that includes the spare …). So, we’re planning to send the little boat into Dutch to pick up some new parts that are being delivered for us to test during the last little bit of our cruise. As a result, the ship is constantly shuddering as we scream through the water – leaving an enormous swath of disturbed water in our wake.

This cruise is particularly important for the multibeam company because this is the Sea Acceptance Test for the new unit. The ship has spent millions of dollars installing this new system and this is the big test to make sure that it works before the summer science season gets underway. So, everyone is working really hard to get it working.

Today is Sunday so there is a much more relaxed schedule today. Breakfast and Lunch were each served for two hours (leaving 9-10am as the only time food was not being actively served this morning). The mess deck was deserted when I went down there – I guess everyone is taking advantage of the opportunity to sleep in!

My watch went by really fast this morning – we watched most of The Shining and the new Curious George movie on the CCTV. Every day, there is one channel of the CCTV that is a movie playing on a loop (today that was The Shining). If you’re on night watch and it’s particularly slow, that might mean you watch the same movie a couple times during your watch. On Sundays, they devote a couple of the CCTV channels to rotating movies (which is why we also watched Curious George). I’m starting to really enjoy watching movies with no sound. Since I’m on day watch, it’s not really appropriate to have the sound on and we haven’t been able to get the subtitles to work. So instead, we watch movies and try to guess what’s happening since we can’t hear the dialog. There’s also a news channel and a sports channel – but those get boring pretty fast. There’s also cameras in various parts of the ship – so if there’s an engine problem, we can watch them fix it, or if there’s a CTD deployment, we can watch that without ever leaving the computer lab …

I should describe the computer lab a little more. It’s a room with a couple desks in it for the IT admin and CG marine science techs. At the other end is a table with 8 computer monitors + 2 CCTV monitors where the watch standers sit. Luckily, we only have to pay attention to 2 of the computer screens (multibeam and sub-bottom profiler) for this cruise. We use another screen for the elog to document all of our actions and describe all of the errors that pop up on screen.

Anyways, I kind of wanted to take a nap after staying up late watching North Shore. The movie in the hangar was shockingly unpopular! I thought it was pretty fun. The sound kept cutting out but it wasn’t the sort of movie where it mattered. Plus the fact that there was sound was novel enough to keep me entertained as I drank my Diet Coke (which was also exciting since they only serve Pepsi in the mess deck). I missed the Bingo since I was working on wiring stuff for the ADCP. That’s also why I haven’t taken a nap – I thought we were going to finish up this afternoon but everyone has disappeared to meetings. Alas.

It’s getting noticeably colder. The current stats are:
Last Air Temperature: 9.65°C, 53.11°F
Computed wind speed and direction: 5.17 knots, 2.66 m/s, @ 294.35° SOG: 16.70 knots COG: 347.6°
It’s also started to drizzle/rain lightly and it’s a lot cloudier. We had some really pretty sunrises the first couple days, but now they’re very muted.

This ship is set up so that you can get most places without going outside – although its often a much faster route if you do, opening and closing all of the watertight doors kills time. I usually get lost wandering around in the bowels of the ship. At least if I’m outside, I can still figure out which way is aft and which way is forward.

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