14 February, 1998
Happy Valentine's Day from the Ross Sea! We've finally made it back towards the coast. Too bad that today was so foggy that we couldn't see the land! We had fog and light snow all day long. It really affected our visibility and the ship had to travel slower in order to avoid large pieces of ice. It's difficult when the Captain or the Mates can see ice in the radar -- but they can't see it in front of them! In addition, we had to delay putting the seismic gear in the water because we weren't sure how much ice was in front of us. This evening, the winds were about 40 mph and we had 8-10 foot waves for about 2 hours. The waves stopped almost immediately when we moved into an area with ice. It's amazing how much difference that ice can make! Tonight, we had a Valentine's Day party. Ernest made homemade tortilla chips that we ate with salsa and bean dip. He also made my favorite -- chocolate cake! We sat around for an hour or so . . . eating and telling stories (and enjoying the fact that the seas had calmed down).
Today, I wanted to discuss the last of the people hired to work on the ship. We have talked about the employees of Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) like Captain Joe and J.P. We have looked at the employees of Antarctic Support Associates (ASA) like Jim Holik and Barney Kane. The last person to discuss is Suzanne O'Hara. She is 36 years old, and she lives about 20 minutes north of New York City. She graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which is an engineering university in Troy, New York. She has a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Earth Science. Suzanne works for -Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University developing, designing, and building software for scientists and training people how to use it. Scientists will hire a team of people at Lamont-Doherty to design software and equipment to meet their research needs.
Because Suzanne is so familiar with much of the software and hardware that is used for the Multibeam, she is often contracted to come aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer and help the scientists. Sometimes, the scientists pay for her help. Other times, ASA pays for her to come to Antarctica because they can't provide the support that is needed for a parcticular piece of equipment. With the NBP, she is mostly hired to work with groups that use the Multibeam a lot or groups that use a lot of CTDs. She has experience on many different ships from many different countries. She has spent a great deal of time on ships since 1985. From 1985 - 1992, she alternated working on ships and working in ice camps with scientists in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. For ice camps, they would set up camp (complete with computers and equipment) in tents that were on top of large pieces of floating ice. They would collect their data by drilling down through the ice -- but they weren't able to make decisions about where the ice would go. They just had to float wherever the ice went. Although ice camps were very interesting, Suzanne really feels like she has a family aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer. In the last year, she has spent nearly 9 months aboard the NBP working for different groups. Although working aboard the ship doesn't provide as much of an opportunity to develop new software as she would sometimes like, she thinks that this is a very nice ship -- with nice people and good food -- and she really enjoys working here in Antarctica.
Today we were able to nearly finish sieving that kasten core from several days ago. There are on four samples left to wash, so the night crew will certainly get that done. I'm running a little behind with ping editing today due to the rough seas earlier in the evening (it's a little hard to work on ping editing when the ship is rocking back and forth). If I don't get it done tonight, I'll finish it up in the morning. Tomorrow we hope to begin seismic and coring in the Western Ross Sea (weather permitting). How do you suppose that the Ross Sea got its name? We'll look at that in tomorrow's journal. Thanks for all the email questions and correspondence! Please remember that I won't be able to use the NBP address after 11:00 p.m. on February 18th (your time). After that date, you can send mail to my school address: firstname.lastname@example.org Hope you're having a great day! I sure am!!
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