1.20.2011

Clifford A Barnes

i am blogging on my phone from upper Puget Sound aboard the RV Clifford A Barnes, a converted. we started up in Sequim Bay and spent last night in a tiny marina in hood canal. we are taking very shallow (ideally undisturbed)core samples to collect dormant phytoplankton samples. it is the first of a three year project to investigate the algae that kills shellfish and makes them toxic. we are sampling all over the sound looking for places with high concentrations (dormant in the winter) to help predict areas of possible blooms in the spring/summer. although, what influences result in a bloom are unknown, knowing where they are is a big start.

yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day, if cold. The olympic range had a fresh dusting of snow. the sun was shining and at one point i could see both mt. raineer and mt. baker at the same time. it was stunning. today it is cold and cloudy with misty forests and mountain tops.

i learned quite a bit about working in the cold. a few notes for future reference; if you buy a bunch of long underwear to wear under your clothes, make sure your clothes are big enough to accomodate. long sleeve thermal shirts should ALWAYS include thumb holes. skinny jeans are a much better fit under rubber boots than boot cut pants, which fit better outside boots. there
is no amount of insulation you can get in your gloves that will actually keep your hands warm. brimmed wool hats go a very long way. brimmed earflap wool hats and you're a rockstar. neckwarmers or cowls that fit under coats make the rest of the crew jealous.

1.08.2011

I'm on a boat

I moved.


You would expect a bigger post about it. And I have more to say. But everything I want to say involves being followed up with a photo. Which, I don't have right now. My phone had a little incident involving a sink full of water and it needed replaced. I recovered the micro SD card in it and it was insured so it will be replaced.

But immediately after I dropped it, then made the insurance claim I flew to Honolulu to start my new job aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson. So I don't have it. I don't have a micro SD card reader.

This means that I will post, in the future about my move. Until then, I'm just gonna talk (with text) about right now.

I met the Thompson in Honolulu and we left on Thursday on a transit to Seattle. All the new Techs are on board. The transit is a good opportunity to get to know the ship without pressure from the science party to provide them with data, a never-ceasing demand on a normal scientific expedition. And, better than a shipyard period, we can actually turn systems on and find out how they work. On the real ocean.

So I've been crawling behind computers and hitting switches and digging in boxes on dark dusty shelves. It has been very enlightening. I can't believe how much I have learned in the last two days on board the vessel with no supervision. I broke something called SWAP on an IP address Easter Egg hunt. As a result I had to email people who knew things about it and got it fixed. For the curious it is a wireless way to share data, ship to ship or ship to shore in the event that our satellite internet connection is down, or if we are working on a project jointly with another vessel.

I found a new echosounder deck unit partially installed with broken COM ports and managed to find a replacement PCI board digging through some of our stores. I dusted off and pulled out the ship's magnetometer system and figured out how it is put together and determined it needs a little love from the manufacturer before we can use it later in the year.

I've also written my first wiki. On several topics. I squealed with glee when I got a Table of Contents on my first page.

My co-workers are all really great. They all come from a different institution with different skills in different areas of marine research, very communicative, enthusiastic and we all have flashy ideas for pimping out this vessel. Next year, I think this will be an amazing place to do science. It does the job now, but it's gonna get better.

While I am having a super productive time on board the ship. I am looking forward to returning to Seattle and finding out how what it is like to actually live there.