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11 July, 2003

Welcome On Board the C.C.G.S. Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Our ship arrived a little before noon and we immediately began loading our gear and science equipment. It has been a beautiful day at Dutch Harbor and Lee shuttles several of the crew into town as we check through inventories and boxes upon boxes of equipment. It will be my first trip aboard a ship and I have to admit a little nervousness is mixed in with the excitement as we leave the docks that evening.

Built in 1986 the light icebreaker CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier's length measures at 82.96 meters and has a gross tonnage of 3812.1. She cruises at a speed of 11 knots and can reach a maximum speed of 15.5 knots.

The Laurier's home port is Victoria, B.C. and she carries a crew of 27, which changes every 28 days/46 days during Arctic operations. The Laurier patrols British Columbia and Arctic waters. Her primary duties include resupply, aids to navigation, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, icebreaking and other duties relating to Fisheries and Oceans, Coast Guard, or other government department programs.

Most of the afternoon and early evening has been spent storing our gear, setting up our labs, calibrating instruments, and for some of us, becoming familiar with our home for the next 10 days.

We will be working out of two primary labs on board. A cargo trailer fastened to the deck will serve as our facilities when benthic samples are collected. A science lab located on the upper deck will serve as a chemistry and processing facility for water samples. A smaller room from the upperdeck lab contains the electronic equipment for the CTD lab (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth). More about that tomorrow.

Working aboard ship has been nothing like I had expected. The accommodations are great, the food is awesome, and the crew has been extremely friendly and go above and beyond to provide you with outstanding service and assistance. There is positively a great sense of pride that can be felt around the ship. This relaxed atmosphere also makes for a wonderful working environment.

Thus far the weather has been typical of the south Bering Sea, a little windy, gray and cloudy skies, lightly choppy seas but a pleasurable time. We should reach our first survey site tomorrow evening and the true science adventure begins.

I invite any questions regarding my science on the sea adventure. The ship has graciously set up a system for me to send and receive e-mails. Please direct your questions to:

CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier

CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier

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