31 January, 2001
The Ship. I am being carried across the ocean on a ship called the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer. The Palmer was built in response to the United States' national policy, which calls for maintaining an active presence in Antarctica through scientific research. The ship is ice-classed and can break three feet of ice at three knots.
She can hold 500,000 gallons of fuel. When we were in Hobart, we fueled up for a day and a half - can you guess the price tag? (Answer at bottom) Each propeller (there are two) is over 13.1 feet or 4 meters long. The Palmer was named after Nathaniel Brown Palmer, who lived from the August 8,1799 to June 21, 1877 (ask for extra credit to look this person up - he was cool!).
Our crossing has been good; there has been only one day with waves over 20 feet (see tomorrow's entry) Our work never stops. We have split the scientists into two groups, one on day shift, the other night. That's where I am now - finishing the last bit of my 12 hour night shift. I have been taking samples of diatoms (see project description) at every degree of latitude. The last reading I took was latitude -62 degrees and 52 minutes by longitude 147 degree 24 minutes. (Look at a map or globe and see if you can find the spot in the ocean where I wrote this.) Some people are getting their labs in order and talking with each other doing lots of mapping. It seems like every minute is accounted for so we don't want to waste any time getting from one site to another. Lots of time we take a break and go to the second floor lounge to either catch a wink or watch a movie. Down time is precious: when we get to our target sites there will not be a spare minute. Hope all is well your way. Later (Answer: one million dollars)
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