Greetings from the JR
I have been living on the JOIDES Resolution for five days while the science party, technical staff, and crew get ready for our two month cruise. The level of activity on the ship is staggering. To support the science that we will be doing there are hundreds of computers, several internal servers, and dozens of pieces of specialized equipment designed specifically for this ship and software to support them. There is one technician for every three scientists, and a number of software developers, engineers, computer engineers, and other technical professionals that help to keep all of the systems running.
We were docked at pier 29 in Honolulu harbor, and the dock was packed with everything from crates of bananas to compressed gas cylinders, all waiting to be hoisted aboard with one of the three cranes. Repairs were being made to the freight elevator, drilling mud was being pumped aboard, and a 20 foot refrigerated container was delivered yesterday to be hoisted by crane to the bridge deck level. The engine room tested the thrusters that keep the ship positioned over the drilling site, and the captain and crew are testing the navigation equipment and sonar, so that the hull reverberates with vibrations. The chief scientists has made arrangements for our radioactive neutron source (for downhole logging) to be delivered either by helicopter or by ship transfer. This has to be done after we pull out of the harbor, as the port does not allow transport of radioactive materials through the docks.
I have been busy learning the systems that I will use to do my work on the sediment core, meeting the other scientists and staff, and learning my way around the ship. There are about two dozen computer workstations with Internet access, a gym with decent equipment, several restaurant grade espresso machines, and a movie lounge. The science party usually meets in the conference room first thing in the morning, and there are 4 meal times in a 24 hour period. Everyone on the ship works a 12 hour shift. Mine is from noon to midnight, and we’ll begin transitioning to the 12-hour shift schedule when we leave port tomorrow afternoon. There are a number of catwalks along the side of the ship to step out of the labs to get some air, and a helicopter pad for running laps.
We were piloted out of Honolulu harbor on March 10, around 3pm and were on the open ocean in less than 20 minutes. There are 120 people on board. We all watched Oahu slip below the horizon from the back of the ship on the helicopter deck, then went back to work. The seas are moderately rough, so there is a rhythmic back and forth rocking. I feel fine so far, possibly owing to the scopolamine patch I’m wearing behind my ear. I was treated to a full moon rise over the water last night just after sunset, many of you know I am somewhat fanatical about watching full moon rise. We will all be transitioning to our 12-hour shift schedules today, so I went to bed early and work up at 2am, prepared to stay awake until my shift ends at midnight. I was rocked to sleep last night in my cabin by the waves. So far, the people are nice, the food is good, and the work is fun.
Our Education/Outreach staff member had a dream about pirates and another scientist had a dream about vampires, so we are all keeping ourselves entertained with horror stories of vampirates on the ship, how to kill a vampirate (a sharpened wooden pegleg), and how one becomes a vampirate (still working on that one). Just imagine how nuts we’ll all be after 8 weeks of this. There are several ways to keep up with the activities of the ship, pictures will be posted here and at: http://iodp.tamu.edu/scienceops/gallery/exp320/ General information and scientific goals can be found at: http://iodp.tamu.edu/scienceops/expeditions/equatorial_pacific.html There is also a facebook page, you can link to from this page! We arrive at our first drill site in 4 days!