Leaving port, was a “fat guy in a little coat” experience. The ship’s crew and engineers are magicians.
Ok, we had tugboats escorting us out, but it was pretty awesome to see a loaded 143 m (471 ft) vessel, close to the length of one and one-third football fields, being gently nudged, tugged and pulled around the harbor. Fun facts: the JR was launched in 1978 and has two pretty small propellers for forward movement, and 12 computer-controlled thrusters (10 retractable, 2 fixed) for side-to-side movement, which help to position the ship over the drill site. The tower is 61.5 m (202 ft) tall, that is 43% of the length of the ship and close to three times its width of 21 m. She is the successor of the Glomar Challenger, and actually started out as an oil exploration vessel. The Integrated Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) has visited 74 sites and travelled over 67,000 miles, and recovered over 29,000 m of core. We’ll nudge that number up a bit.