Yesterday I took a tour of the JOIDES Resolution with Mike Storms, the operations officier for drilling. We started off in the Bridge and learned about the changes that were made to the ship in Singapore. The entire Bridge was raised one floor higher allowing for better visibility. It is filled with the latest technology. The view from the Bridge is great! The captain explained how the ship is powered and showed us the navigation room where the paper maps are located. We then moved on to the dynamic positioning is done. From the console in this room, operators can manuveur the ship to just the correct spot for drilling. Computer controlled thrusters are used to keep the JOIDES Resolution right over the drilling hole, even in somewhat rough seas. Human operators can also do the manuveuring if necessary.
We then moved on to the drilling deck where we got a closeup view of the drilling operations. Several types of drill bits are used depending on the type of material present. Some bits are for soft sediments while others are used to drill through hard rock. The equipment used to raise and lower the drill pipe is enormous. It is also a dangerous place to be when drilling operations are being conducted.