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Today Was a Good Day

November 2, 2010

I’m feeling pretty good today. The sun is out and we’re chilling in Hood Canal waiting for the Navy to let us go by. The latest rumor is that they’re doing some submarine maneuvers and we have to wait for them to finish. The science party is sad because we are running ahead of schedule and they were excited to finish early.

On Halloween, we had a power failure in the middle of a CTD cast. Excitement! We were just about to pull the CTD out of the water when "BOOM" all the lights shut off and the emergency generator started up. Turns out it was due to human error. As the chief engineer explained to me, "it was one of those ‘oh shit’ moments that every engineer has".

Meanwhile, in my world, the winch monitor stopped working. As I began to investigate the problem, I discovered that ALL of the winch monitors had stopped working. Very strange. I started looking closely at the box that ties all of the winch monitors together but everything looked normal. Very strange. I ran into the chief engineer and asked if he had any insight. We both looked at it for a while and decided that the only thing that made sense was if something had failed or a wire had come loose on something that was connected to all the winch monitors … but we couldn’t find it.

So, I emailed the company and described our problem. Immediately, they emailed me back to explain that the compact flash drives in the local winch monitors (the ones on the winches) had probably filled up. They would be happy to come and do a firmware upgrade when we were next docked in Seattle. Lame. It turns out that these new winch monitors (installed in June) have a safety feature in which they record the winch data whenever the winch monitor is on. As it turns out, we like to leave our winch monitors on all the time … since all the winch monitors are on the same switch, they record the same amount and filled up at the same time. Genius.

The winch operators were split between happy and sad that I had fixed it. Some were very happy. Others had liked the challenge of operating the winch and guessing the speed/depth.

Anyways, Hood Canal is very pretty. I think I will go enjoy it.

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