Archive for October, 2010
Following on from the last blog post, I will continue my adventure in the engine room! After lunch, I returned to the control room for 13:00 sharp. I wouldn’t want to be late. Heads were being put together to solve the problems with engine one. I kept out of this instead there was a hatch for me to uncover for the afternoons work. We were headed into an aft compartment, which has a port hole underwater, so that the propellers can be seen! This is where the spanner and hammer came in. Having taken all but two of the screws out, George finished the job off, making sure there was nothing untoward inside. Because this was a confined space, many safety precautions were taken. First, a gas detector was placed inside to get an oxygen content reading; it was all ok. We then had a fan placed over the entrance to circulate the air. Whilst this was sorting itself out, we headed up to the Bridge to sort the paper work. Second Officer, Malcolm, was informed with a time in which to call us if we hadn’t been back up. Signed off and ready to go! On our way back we got a breathing apparatus set, like fire fighters use, just in case we incurred any problems. Once I’d got a light fitted from the ladder we were ready to go.
Inside this tiny space we were about 12mm from the sea, with only the hull in between! I had the gas meter attached to my overalls, with its regular bleep informing us of good oxygen levels. There are two porthole windows to observe the props. These are covered with hatches, providing reinforcement. With a smaller spanner and some muscle the screws of the starboard hatch were undone. The most stunning blue ocean was revealed! It was so clear, with the seabed some 4500m away- absolutely stunning! I couldn’t help but grin, what a truly amazing and rare sight to get. Because it was around the time of noon CTD and nets, the starboard propeller was stationary.
After a short wait we saw Rach’s Zooplankton trawl net hit the water. It was mesmerising to watch, seeing it at the mercy of the ocean’s currents. We never normally get to see the instruments once they’re in the water, so this was an amazing sight.
Still grinning like a Cheshire cat, I helped removed the port hatch. No equipment was being deployed from this side, so the prop was rotating. It wasn’t moving very fast though since it was working to maintain our location. By this point it was hot… roasting hot. Dripping with sweat and grease it was time for a fresh air break. A cold can of Fanta and a dose of sunshine were much appreciated. Since the hatches are rarely off, Dunx and Neil offered to put them back since they hadn’t seen this part of the ship before.
In the time that we’d been undertaking the hatch checks, the engineering team had pin-pointed engine one’s fault, found spares and got the repair underway. Fantastic stuff! I was guided to switch other engines off and start others. This is an amazing system, operated from the control room, all on a touch screen computer! The engines are designed to run continuously, 24/7, at a constant rate for around 20 years! However, our science means that we spend many hours stationary in the middle of the ocean. This gives the engines a harder life, so they need extra engineering TLC. With a spring in my step I followed George on his afternoon ship check. Feeling far more at home in the engineering environment, it was more of a bounce around the ship!
As I heard, the engineers are often unsung heroes on ships. They spend all their time down in the windowless rooms, which are roasting hot, where no one else goes. So that’s why we only ever see them on fresh air breaks! But they keep the ship moving, the pipes flowing, make freshwater, sort out the sewage works, build things, fix things, ensure the air conditioning/heating is working, that the galley fridges are operational and much more…
Lessons learnt: Always remember your ‘ears’ AKA ear defenders. Senses of smell, sight and sound are vital for finding leaks and faults. Engineers have lots of responsibilities- they earn their fresh air breaks!
Highlights of the day: -Seeing the plankton nets and propellers! -Getting my new overalls grubby -Getting my face grubby -Helping with the engine check e.g. checking the alarms –Switching the running engines –A cold shower!
A big thank you to George, Big Chris, Little Chris and Phil for taking so much time and enthusiasm to show me the ropes of the engine room, and the chief engineer’s job! I had a great time, am still grinning, and there’s plenty of space for more muck on my overalls. I’ll happily go back!
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Saturday, 30th Oct, 2010
It was another hot and humid day in the tropics, with a start like any other. I got up 6am, which is now classed as a lie in! The early hours were spent in my normal science routine, sampling at the CTD. The morning CTD is always far more relaxed than at lunchtime. As Carolyn describes it ‘Cricket in the morning and football in the afternoon’. This is a good thing since most of us remain bleary eyed for the first few hours of the day.
Breakfast at 7.30am, a good bowl of porridge was truly enjoyed. Then to kit up- boiler suit and steel toe capped boots, and head for the coffee shop to meet the engineers. Oh yes- a day in the engine room!
I was met by George- Chief Engineer, Big Chris- Second Engineer and Young Chris- Third Engineer. Engine room tours for scientists are nothing new, normally something left for the end of the cruise. But I wanted to spend a full day down there, to really experience what they actually get up to. Apparently it really is more than drinking tea on the afterdeck!
Taken to the control room, I was hit by the noise! The view of the four large engines was impressive- pipes and caballing everywhere. The room had a thunderbird feel to it. From here the jobs for the day were laid out. I was presented with a pair of ear guards- essential safety kits when working in the engine room. First up- freshwater production. Although surrounded by water, we cannot immediately drink it or use it for everyday use. So as engineers do, if it’s not to hand then they make it! An evaporation system is used, with heat from the engines used to create evaporation from a seawater flow. It takes a massive 32 tonnes of seawater to produce the 10 tonnes of freshwater which is used daily. This creates incredibly pure water, with nothing left in it. This is why we use this water for showering etc, and bottled water to drink. With Big Chris’s instructions I got the water being produced for the day! Due to the high water demand of the ship, the production system runs 24/7. Even with this, sometimes the system cannot cope- hence our day in the Azores!
There are 4 engines on board, each with 9 cylinders. Only two are run at any time, which gives the ship a speed of ~10knots. It can go faster, but it becomes far less efficient. The little extra speed this would gain would cost a small fortune in fuel!
The engines have a series of alarms and safety systems on them which need to be checked. This was my second job of the day with Young Chris. We tested the alarm- all was ok. Then to check the lube oil; with this one the engine was cutting out at a pressure less than the alarm. This couldn’t be right. So it was all reset, and I had a lesson in engine room sign language from George who was looking after the main boards in the control room. The engine room is so noisy that often you can’t hear someone, so other forms of communication are vital. This was a very effective way of ‘talking’ to one another, from a noisy engine room, through a window to the control board. Some more tests showed that actually the engine was fine, with the alarms sounding at the right oil pressures. It was actually the pump instrument that we were using that was reading incorrectly, which will soon be recalibrated. And finally, we had to check the oil levels in the engine. This is just like on a regular car, using a dip-stick. At this point I think I’d helped with more maintenance on the ships engines than I’d ever done on a regular car. I’m not sure that filled up windscreen wiper fluid really counts as real car maintenance!
The final task before lunch was to take the duty engineers tour, checking that everything was in order, picking up on any leaks and the like. This was not just of the engine room, but all the areas of the ship which the engineers are responsible for. We started at the top, on a floor known as ‘Hobbits Kingdom’ due to its low ceiling. This is a central hub for much of the computer network and other electronically controlled items. Then out to the funnels which are the exhaust pipes of the ship. It was a squeeze to get between them to reach the back. Everything was in order so far. We continued on to the galley, checking the temperature of the fridges and freezers. This is a good opportunity to check that they aren’t having any problems with equipment. Next deck down and we checked the stores and labs. Many of the pipes are getting covered in condensation from our humid climate at present.
Finally back to the engine room. Another walk round and everything was ok, apart from the sludge tank. Being directed to the right pipes and levers, I was instructed how to sort it out. Once sorted, I was presented with a large hammer and a spanner for the afternoon’s work- I had a giant grin on my face! Shown where we were going to be working, it was certainly going to be a different afternoon…
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Friday, 29th Oct, 2010
As I write we are nearing the 20 degree line (15minutes away!), with the equator closing in. The Cape Verde islands are our nearest land… obviously we’re far too far away to actually see them! The climate is hot and humid with air temperature above 28°C in the middle of the day. The surface water temperature is 27.5°C, the temperature of swimming pool water!
Today we sampled our 40th CTD station allowing the transect to develop further. As you can see things are heating up, which is what you’d expect given our current direction. The temperature plot shows the different layers of ocean, with warm surface water and cooler water beneath. The white patch in the bottom left is from the sea floor at the continental shelf. Because we are interested in sampling the biology of the upper water column the CTD’s are only going to a maximum of 500-1000m, so you can’t see the sea floor bathymetry with these plots… it also means no polystyrene cup shrinking yet!
Although we travel somewhere in the region of 8500miles during AMT, the amount of ocean that we occupy and sample is still very small. So how do we find out what’s going on elsewhere?
This is where satellites come in. We are sent satellites images from the National Earth Observation Data Archive and Analysis Service three times a week. These show us sea surface temperature and chlorophyll. Satellites can measure a multitude of other parameters too, but we’re not interested in all of them immediately out here. Our in-situ data measurements are used to calibrate the satellites, making sure that their data is correct.
To ensure that our instruments are recording the correct values we also calibrate them. Some of the sensors, like temperature, are calibrated onshore before leaving. Others, such as the salinity and oxygen sensors, have water samples collected and analysed especially from the CTD rosette here on the ship. This way we ensure that we can truly believe in the data values.
Using both satellite and in-situ data we get a much larger picture of what’s going on.
Now, the gap in the plots is from the Azores. Due to their Exclusive Economic Zone, upto 200miles offshore, we could not sample here. Even out at sea there are a host of legalities to abide by. And that even when we just want to filter the water!
So with that, it’s the end of the day in the lab. 5 O’clock freshair break on the foredeck is calling.
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Thursday, 28th Oct, 2010
It’s raining, it’s pouring, and the scientists certainly aren’t snoring! This is not the tropical summer holiday I was expecting. No deck chairs, no pool on deck… oh wait, there was one today. The heavens well and truly opened- torrential rain in the tropics. But still we trooped on, collected our samples, and fought against the wind to get the plankton nets out. The deck lab had a new waterfall installation, and the waterproofs got an airing.
Back in the lab I thought I’d just about got the swing of things. But today my routine defeated me. When filtering we use electric vacuum pumps; the air in a container is steadily replaced with water. But obviously you don’t want the container to fill right up else water is put through the pump rather than air. When filtering the HPLC samples normally this doesn’t have to be changed until the end… apart from today. There was a gurgle, a splutter, and then water shooting out from the side of the pump- eeeek! After mopping up the floor (now nice and clean) I took the sheepish walk to the main lab to tell Glen I’d just put sea water through his pump. Oh dear. So out came the Milli-Q water and WD40 and after some TLC Glen got it working again. I’d just had my filtering christening! But I was reminded that I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. So watch out potential filter monkeys- there’s a pump waiting to catch you out! For me, mental note made- check the container more often!
When we’re out here it’s always nice to hear from home. To catch up on all the news, and to be honest it’s pretty novel to be able to make and receive calls from the middle of the Atlantic. Last night I had a call from my parents and also my old housemates. I can hear you thinking ‘that must be expensive!’ … thankfully that’s not the case. But it did get me thinking how our communications out here really work. So I poked my head around the terminal room door to ask Gareth and Jon, our IT/electronics engineers. Initially faces of fear appeared with the look of ‘what have you broken now!?’ …
Whereas at home everything is wired through phone lines, out here we rely on satellites. The ship rents bandwidth on one, with its ground station in Aberdeen, Scotland. Therefore that’s where the phone number is located. This means that folk back home can call us, as if we were in the UK. With most people having free evening and weekend calls or minutes on their mobiles, it call costs can be nothing! Quite amazing really, since it wasn’t that long ago that people would have had no or little contact. The satellite rental gives us broadband internet and 4 phone lines. The internet, although slow, is really quite amazing. We have Wi-Fi throughout most of the ship- even on the aft deck! And the phone line quality is fantastic so I really can’t complain.
Enlightened by this wonderful technology I left the guys alone, relived that I hadn’t just added to their ‘fix list’. Although the weather this morning, and most of the day to be honest, was abysmal, it turned into a fantastic evening. Cups of coffee and sunset on the aft deck, followed by comedy hour in the lounge, this was not a bad end to the day.
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Tuesday, 26th Oct, 2010
We have had a lovely sunny weekend out in the Atlantic. The ocean has turned to a piercing blue colour (something which will be covered later in the week), and sampling has been going well. Everyone has found their groove and got into routines. This has been mentioned by the crew, who now see scientists, rather than headless chickens! Because of this we are now making much more use of the common areas on the ship. Apparently there is life outside the labs!
So here we have a quick tour of where we are living. I will start with the library. This is a popular escape from the labs, turning into a data analysis cafe in the afternoons, with the sun sinking in through the large windows. As the name suggests there is also a wide variety of books to keep us entertained for sunny moments out on the bow, and more frequently as we wait for filtering.
We have a bar with a large lounge area. In here there is a large TV with a Nintendo Wii and Play Station II. The latest toy is Sky TV but the channel selection is somewhat limited. The final door down the corridor is the video room. This little cave is outfitted with draws and shelves stacked full of DVD’s to rummage through. There are several TV box sets which are always a popular hit!
One of the most important rooms- the mess! We have 3 wonderful meals a day in here… there is never a lack of choice!
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Sunday, 24th Oct, 2010
WARNING… INVASION… WARNING… INVASION… WARNING…
Day 12 at sea and horror has hit the AMT20 team… multi-specie invasion. Giant orange, smelly, lobster-monsters were found in the main laboratory. These creatures fumbled around, moving slowly, in a zombie like fashion. When nearing sea water they sprang to life! After a while, all their energy was funnelled into capturing more sea water, filtering it, making it change colour, adding bubbles… this induced a trance like fixation. And then, springing from the depth of a sample tray The Alien burst out.
The Monsters were so surprised! Why on Earth would a deep-sea alien be in the surface waters… what was his incentive to migrate so far from home!? Swimming around, looking innocent, could this alien really be THE Alien!? The Monsters put their heads together, re-captured him, and squeezed him under a microscope. It was an immense struggle since he was so large, with a mind of his own. It was after all a Saturday evening, and who could blame him for not wanting to spend it under the microscope. The Monsters determination, a pair of tweezers and a pipette was what it took to get this alien beast under control… by oh my it was worth it. The Monsters were bouncing around with excitement and grabbed the camera to fully document this momentous occasion.
All eyes were staring at this wriggling creature. He was shaking his pincers at the Monsters, oooh it was scary stuff! After a prod and a poke the Alien was identified to really be THE Alien… yes, the one from Ridley Scotts’ 1979 Science-Horror movie*. What a find. His less common name was determined to be Phronima- a type of Amphipod, from the Zooplankton family. They are predators of salp, eating away their stomachs so they can use them to lay their eggs in. They use salps as a moving home whilst the Mum brings up the young ones. With their giant eyes and knife-like pincers, they are certainly a predator for plankton to avoid.
But what was it doing so far from home!? Normally found in the deep, dark depths of the Ocean this particular phronima had been on quite an adventure. It was suggested that since zooplankton migrate to the surface at night to feed, to avoid their daytime predators, perhaps the scientists were just up too early- too eager some might say. This lost and lonely phronima didn’t stand a chance, and got caught up in the net.
Whilst the Monsters were having a whale of a time with their new Alien friend, the scientists were confused by this Monster invasion. Dr. Dave Drapeau, part of the American Monster Translators (AMT) clarified that these were harmless creatures, possibly morphosed from a Gumby creature. So that posed the question:
‘What are Gumby creatures’ doing on the ship!?’
His careful translation skills concluded that they were on a stealth mission to escape their arch nemesis, the Blockhead! However, during their escape, sidekick Pokey had got left behind. This was devastating…
Heads were being scratched- how could the Gumby creatures be reunited with Pokey? Captain to the rescue!
‘We shall squeeze them into the adventure travelling sacks and place them by the liferaft. Detective Prickle will be able to organise a swift pick up- no matter where we are!’
So that was it settled. Life on the James Cook was soon back to normal. After such a whirl-wind day, stomachs were rumbling so up to the mess for a curry. What a weekend!
I hope your weekends back on land have been just as exciting,
Thanks to Rach and Raff for their bug finding, photography and serious amounts of enthusiam. And to Dave for his Gumby translation!
*it may not have been the exact one… perhaps a scaled down version measuring just a few millimetres! I think that’s even more spectacular!
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Saturday, 23rd Oct, 2010
It has been mentioned that I haven’t yet introduced myself on the blog, nor what I’m doing here in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – apparently this is the ‘normal’ thing to do. So apologies for my poor ‘blogging’ manners! So, here it is… a bit about me and what I’m doing out here…
I’m Eleanor, or Ella, Darlington. I’m here documenting life at sea in the form of photos, videos and this blog, for Plymouth Marine Laboratory. ‘An easy job’ I hear you say. Well that’s not all… I’m also here working for a not-for-profit organisation called Education Through Expeditions (www.etelive.org), who are also based in Plymouth. This is the trickier part of my job- Education and Outreach – making science fun and applicable in the classroom.
- Enjoying the aft deck… not a bad office afterall
Whilst I’m out here school children (and big kids alike!) can ask questions. The idea is to make the real life science, much of which is aimed at climate change, interactive and informative. By using innovative methods of communication via satellite we can host phone conversations, Skype text chats and e-mail sessions. Once we’ve got the software sorted we will also be able to upload short video clips of things we have seen or been doing. This is a very special opportunity for schools to get involved with. In addition I hope to make some educational resources to help make classroom science more hands on. I think it’s a really neat idea- but it’s tough. I’m not a teacher so don’t necessarily know what would be useful to aid in curriculum teaching. And how do you get kids interested in asking questions to someone they’ve never met, thousands of miles away, who’s bobbing around in the Atlantic Ocean!? Well, we have started with the expedition ‘hub’ which contains extra information on the wildlife, location, environment, the people and much more, so people can pick out the bits they’re most interested in (found at www.etelive.org/amt20). From here there are feeds to this blog, Twitter, and Facebook… For all its sins Facebook is actually proving to be a popular method of outreach. With around 200 Likes at present there are many people being bombarded with AMT20 news on their Walls. So why not check them out:
Facebook- AMT Ocean Exploration and Twitter- Ocean Outreach
You may be thinking ‘why bother getting kids involved?’ well… they are, after all, the next generation. I and many others truly believe that we have an obligation to keep them well educated. I feel that this is especially important now because of the challenges we will be facing over the next few decades, especially regarding our warming climate and energy resources. And not only that… marine science is incredibly interesting, always changing and developing, takes you to some amazing locations and you get to work with some wonderful people. And it is so multidisciplinary! It requires people interested in biology, chemistry, physics, maths, computing, engineering and mechanics. And people who want to study things from DNA and single celled organisms to whales, how and why the oceans move the way they do to how this impacts our climate. I could keep going…
I didn’t find my love for science in school but from a family friend, Derek Ladkin, who would show us slide shows of his son Russ working at Rothera research station in the Antarctic. It wasn’t about the penguins, or the seals. I was amazed at the studies being undertaken, in such an inhospitable and remote environment. So that was it. I had decided I wanted to work in the Antarctic. Now 10 years on I have just finished a Masters in Oceanography at the University of Southampton, and am taking every opportunity to get as much hands on experience in marine science as possible. So whilst I’m at it I want to share my excitement and enjoyment for science itself, and highlight the amazing possibilities out there to work in some beautiful places.
If any of you out there are teachers, or have kids in schools, or know of young people in youth groups etc. who would be interested in following and getting involved then please pass on the information. I’m discovering that it really is a two-way project!
I hope that some of my excitement has rubbed off on you during your time reading the post. Comments, feedback, and advice are all welcome- please get in touch!
Right, it’s lunchtime and I am out of here! The sun is shining which is always a good incentive to get a move on, and take in the view from the deck.
Thanks for reading,
Education & Outreach Officer | Education Through Expeditions
Main Laboratory | RRS James Cook | Atlantic Ocean | ella(at)etelive.org
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Friday, 22nd Oct, 2010
It has now been nine days since we left dock gate 4 in Southampton, but it feels like we have been on board for months. What used to be an unfamiliar endless labyrinth of corridors and levels is now a well known territory and we already know all the different shortcuts from one part of the ship to another. It appears that the ship has more to offer than laboratory space and storage hangars. It has a stunning front deck where you can view the beautiful stars at night with no light interference, a modest gym from which you can see the sea through several portholes, a sauna, a lounge with wii games, a library with books on ocean and polar exploration and a DVD room with an endless choice of films and incredibly comfortable sofas. All these make the routine job on board the James Cook much more enjoyable. In addition the above mentioned locations are a good place to socialise with the rest of the people on board and let off some steam in the little available time that there is.
Up until a few days ago it was too cold to sit outside on the deck. However we have now started to take advantage of the warmer weather and lack of winds. Two days ago on the way in and out of the Azores we were gathered outside, enjoying the beautiful sunset and getting to know each other. As far as the gym is concerned I find it a very amusing place and it is not because of its small size but because of the feeling you get once you are inside exercising. My favourite item there is the rowing machine which is located near the portholes. When working on it you almost get the feeling that you are actually in a real rowing boat due to the constant rocking of the Cook from one side to another. It makes each exercise in the gym more challenging and this is particular true on the running machine where balancing yourself whilst running appears to be a problem at sea.
The science on board is also going very well. There are 3 sampling stops every day conducted by a spider look alike CTD machine with 20 litre bottles attached to it. This Oceanographic machine gives a profile of the conductivity, temperature and depth of each sampling point we stop at. The first sampling is at 04:30 in the morning and the second is at 05:30. This allows us to sample before dawn and compare the data with the last sampling of the day that occurs around lunch time. It also gives us the opportunity to see who is a morning person and who isn’t. In fact it has been shown scientifically that the trait of being able to cope with little sleep and be happy in the morning as opposed to being grumpy in the morning is actually a genetic trait that we can do little about.
The science we try to do on board is beyond our everyday morning moods. For most of the scientists it is important to take samples in the dark despite the early start. Some biological activities take part only in the dark whilst others only when there is light. This is of great significance when we try to study primary producers such as photosynthetic plankton and bacteria. This daily early start usually allows just enough time to analyse/ filter the samples until the lunch sampling, have breakfast and lunch, and maybe if there is time catch a quick nap. However on average I don’t think that there is anyone on board that sleeps more than 7 continuous hours a day.
So in conclusion, our first week and a half at sea has been beyond my expectations and I am sure that others feel the same. We have seen plenty of marine Life in the form of dolphins, whales, squid and flying fish. We have filtered and analyzed several tons of sea water from different depths. The colour of the Ocean is changing on a daily bases as we sail further south, and everything Else that happens on board in the next few weeks at sea will have to be told in another blog entry.
Live long and prosper,
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Thursday, 21st Oct, 2010
In the last 7 days of sampling we have covered over a distance of 2000km, occupied 12 locations, deployed plankton nets around 25 times, taken 17 CTD profiles and collected 6480 litres of water. This has certainly kept the science team busy!
Since we have left the continental shelf, water depths have reached over 4000m deep. However, due to time constraints we have been sampling from the surface to 500-1000m, where the biology is concentrated. Below is the data from the CTD so far.
The warm surface layer deepened in conjunction with increase depth, and has continued to do so with the temperature increase. This has resulted in reduced surface density and increased salinity for the last 500km. When we were off the coast of Cornwall the surface layer only reached 10m depth whereas now it is beyond 50m. There has also been a change in the distribution of biology. Fluorescence, which is used to indicate chlorophyll levels and therefore phytoplankton, was abundant near the coastline where there is an influx of nutrients helping with their growth. As we move away towards the subtropical gyre, otherwise known as the ‘desert of the ocean’ the chlorophyll concentration is reducing, especially in the last 500km with the changing water properties. The water samples that are collected and analysed are vital for understanding the distribution of species, health, and size of the phytoplankton. Although tiny they are the base of the marine food web and play a vital role in carbon and nitrate cycling in the ocean.
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Wednesday, 20th Oct, 2010
There was early morning sampling just like any other day. But this really wasn’t any other day! Come the afternoon we were to be on land… the labs were buzzing with an air of excitement. An opportunity to stretch our legs, have some sunshine and indulge in local culture. And that’s exactly what we did.
The labs were soon empty and everyone was out on the bow of the ship, watching us creep up on the Azores. A nasty cruise liner delayed our entrance to the dock side, so patiently we just sat back and enjoyed the view. It takes a while for the ship to park, pass customs and get the gangway over on to the dockside. And then finally the announcement we’d all been waiting for…
‘The scientific party have shore leave granted until 18:30 hours’
… YIPPEE! Bags were packed, steel toed boots exchanged for flip-flops, and sun cream slopped on. We were free for 4 hours!
It’s amazing what you can cram into such a short space of time. There were grand ideas of touring the island to just simply sitting in a cafe. Some went swimming, some walking, others headed for the shops. The majority of us met in a cafe, wrote postcards and took in the view whilst sampling the local juice. There was also a marriage proposal *cough*, a short Frisbee game- stopped when the locals were becoming endangered by poor throws, and a seriously rushed dinner. Forgetting how laid back the restaurant service could be resulted in us running back to the ship with a fish in hand.
The rest of the evening was dedicated to some fantastic British comedy. This side-splitting evening was a much needed and fantastic break from everyone working so hard. The first week is often the hardest, with experiments being tested and tweaked which can become very time consuming.
I can hear you wondering ‘why were you really there? You surely can’t take a science research ship holidaying!’ Well you’re right- the ship hasn’t been able to produce enough freshwater for present consumption levels. So we took on an additional 30tonnes of water, some dishwasher spares and other ‘engine room’ related bits. Due to clearance issues we are now headed 200miles offshore of the Azores, so that we are outside of their Exclusive Economical Zone to restart sampling in the high seas. It may sound like another day off… you’d be mistaken! Everyone is having a day of catch up- sorting data files so that our ‘Data Policeman’ doesn’t get on their case.
The first week onboard James Cook has been busy, so very busy. But things are now in full swing. A round up of Week 1’s science will be up shortly. Coming next in AMT20 blog will be a guest entry from Jozef Nissimov so keep your eyes peeled!
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Tuesday, 19th Oct, 2010