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2 June, 2000

Full Steam Ahead!

June 2, Friday

Imagine building an engine capable of propelling a 16,000 ton steel ship through layers of ice 8 feet thick. That would take a really powerful engine!

The Healy has not 1, but 4 diesel engines that work together. Each engine has 12 huge cylinders that generate 10,000 horsepower! (Can you calculate the total horsepower of the Healy?) In contrast, the engine in my Honda has only 6 cylinders and 150 horsepower. Of course, I don't have to break through ice in my Honda!

The Healy engines do more than just propel the ship through ice and water. They also provide enough electricity for all the lights, pumps, computers, and other features that we need to work and live comfortably on the ship.

You can imagine that it takes a lot of fuel to "feed" these engines. Since each one uses about 8 gallons of fuel a minute, we need to be sure we have plenty of fuel for the weeks ahead. When the Healy is steaming in the ocean, it will use about 18,000 gallons of fuel each day. When it has to break ice, it will require more power and use a bit more fuel.

As you might guess, there are no gas stations in the middle of the ocean. Before we left St. Johnís today, the Healy docked at the refueling station in the St. Johnís harbor to "fill Ďer up."

The fuel is pumped onto the ship in much the same way we pump gasoline into our cars. Of course, this is a much bigger purchase than buying gas for your car, so it takes a lot longer to fill up!

Try this math problem: The Healy can hold 1,200,000 gallons. The fuel hose can pump about 1,000 gallons of fuel per minute. If the Healy's tanks were completely empty, how long would it take to fill up?

The answer? A long time! Fortunately we already had a lot of fuel in the tanks and we just needed to top off. Even so, it took most of the day to fill the 22 tanks in the bottom (hold) of the ship. It's important that all of the tanks are filled equally so that the ship is balanced. We wouldn't want to tip too far in any direction!

Now that the tanks have been filled, we're ready to head out to sea. Full steam ahead!

To find out how we get our drinking water on the Healy, click on Janice's page:

Janiceís Entry Today.

DAILY DATA LOG (6/02/00):

Air Temperature: 12 degrees C / 52 degrees F

Clear skies, sunny

Latitude 47N

Longitude 52W


One cycliner. Each of the four engines has 12 cylinders.


This is one of the two shafts that are on the Healy. They operate at 15,000 horsepower when at full power.


Engine Officer Neil Meister standing by one of the Healy's four engines.


Fill 'er up!


Ken McKinley is an electroins technician and Ron Inget is an electrician on the Healy. They can monitor every motor, pump, and engine on the ship from computers in the Engineering Control Center.


Troy Kunas monitors a device that filters water and unwanted parcticles from the diesel fuel that the Healy uses.


This is the kind of "gas station" that the Healy goes to.


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