2 June, 1998
The ship stayed at anchor for most the morning as we continued to take aboard ships stores and make several personnel changes. The cloud ceiling had closed down a bit so it was mid-morning before the choppers could resume their shuttle runs. Once again both of the helos were in the air so it was very busy here on the ship with flight quarters being set about every half hour for several hours. Stores aboard, personnel switched out, anchors hoisted and engines fired up, the ship belched a bit of smoke and was ready to go. The ship got underway mid-afternoon and set a N-NW course to clear the Seward Peninsula. All scientists mustered in the officers wardroom for a briefing from all the different department heads. The focus of this meeting was to acquaint all scientists with all the officers and let us know which individuals are responsible for which duties and tasks. We were also given directions about where to go in case of any kind of emergency so that we could all be accounted for and most importantly, which life raft to go to if the need should arise. Drills will be conducted during the cruise and the scientists are responsible to get to their assigned stations at once. The Polar Sea was designed to be a science research platform with ice breaking capabilities and that makes for a lot of tasks not normally expected of most military vessels. There is a tremendous amount of day to day work required just to keep a vessel of this size operating in a safe and secure fashion. When the science objectives are added to that it makes for a system with not only a lot of moving parts but also a tremendous amount of energy. Lieutenant JG Chris Dabbieri is the Marine Science Officer and one of his functions is to coordinate with the lead scientist, Dr. Lisa Clough, the captain of the vessel, Commander Jeff Garret, and all the department heads to see that all science objectives are accomplished and all Coast Guard regulations are adhered to. That might sound somewhat straight forward but it has to be one of the most complicated tasks on this ship.
There are 19 scientists aboard the ship and we are divided into 4 separate research teams. The ice team is from CRREL and the upper water column group is comprised of people from Bates, Texas A&M, and Florida. The benthic or bottom (mud) team is primarily from East Carolina, and the rover with operator is from North Carolina. The other group, also from Florida, is looking for metabolites manufactured by sessile bottom dwellers. While we all have common interests and overlapping areas of interest, each group has some requirement that is specific only to themselves and that specialty usually requires some specific and vital function that only this vessel and her crew can provide. In order for each group to come away from this experience having met all their objectives it is imperative for good lines of communication to exist between all science teams and all the department heads. The Marine Science Officer has the unenviable task of coordinating with all these folks to see that their needs are met and no toes get stepped on as each group works to fulfill their mission.
As the day progressed Aaron and I continued to get our equipment set up in the dry lab and unpacked the ice coring equipment from the ships aft hold. This gear was sent from CRREL and loaded on the ship before it sailed from Seattle back in late April. Over a dozen boxes of ice sampling and analysis gear were strapped down and secured for sea. All the groups combined probably shipped well over 100 boxes of research equipment that was all stored and lashed down in the hold.
I set up the computer interface that I want to work with and calibrated several of the probes that I will be using for ice/water analysis. One of my goals for this cruise is to design analysis procedures using classroom equipment so that we will be able to duplicate these procedures in the classroom back at BHS. I brought two different interfaces and I would like to see which one best fits our needs and focus on working with it.
Thanks to Bob Reynolds and Cindy Bailey from BP Alaska I have been loaned an IBM Laptop computer that I am using with the interfaces. The computer combined with the interface software will allow data to be stored on a spreadsheet, graphed, and analyzed. When I return to Barrow I will use an ASTF grant to purchase several of whichever computer/interface/probe combinations seemed to work the best. This is a great opportunity to get some classroom activities dialed in and ready to go for next school year.
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