Yesterday we got a little tour of the dynamic positioning unit of the ship. The Chief Mate Terry Skinner told us about the 12 thrusters that get used during drilling operations to hold the ship in place. The ship also points the bow into the winds to stabilize it. The instrumentation panel is very impressive and they have a back-up instrument for everything, just in case anything goes wrong.
I asked Terry Skinner about what parts of his job make him think, "I can't believe I am doing this!" and he told me about measuring the dry weight of the ship. When the JR went under rennovation, a lot of things needed tallying so that it would be buoyant once it got out of the dock. One important measurement for achieving buoyancy is knowing the dry weight of the vessel. So, on this big scientific vessel, someone has to go around and weigh every single thing contained in the ship (from the cabinets and bunks and instruments down to boxes of bolts in the machine shop).
The weights have to be logged and their position measured in the ship, so that the center of gravity can be determined. Terry says it takes him about 3 weeks to do such a job. I can barely imagine how much work that would be. His favorite part of working on the JR is going into and out of ports. I hope Terry will be having a good day tomorrow, as we will be landing in Victoria soon, and I don't think there is any call for a dry weight measurement of the ship anytime soon...