Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clear Sailing

Ahoy! I'm writing to you from the mouth of Yakutat Bay where we have been greeted by bright blue skies, marshmallow clouds, far off glaciers and mountains so beautiful it's hard to believe they are real! Hubbard Glacier is in view as well as Mt. St. Elias, the third highest peak in N. America!

We are deploying OBS's again so we mainly get to hang out and enjoy the view, mixed with a little bit of working the crane and dropping those suckers off. Until I get some pictures of the fantastic views, I thought I'd give a little taste of life aboard the ship.
Here's my "rack," where I sleep:

Here is where I work for most of my shifts. Looks pretty official:

This is the science crew talking about science! We're so smart:

And this is how we roll when playing Yahtzee! (trademark):

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 9 at Sea

Jeez! I've been here more than a week already! And we certainly have been getting some data. Not all of it good, of course, but the weather up here has complicated things.

Science update: Last time, I mentioned that we put all the ocean bottom seismometers in the water. Here's a shot of that in action. Good bye little OBS:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night...

Or morning...woke up today at 3am to get ready for my first watch. We definitely have the worst seas that we have had so far. We are definitely pitching and rolling out here!
We deployed our first OBS at 5am and are doing about 1 instrument/hr for the next 24 hours.

The picture above is from when we left Astoria four days ago.

Above is a view of the starboard side of the boat.

This is the observation tower for the marine mammal observers (MMO) who watch to make sure we don't hurt whales when we shoot our airgun array. Here is me, with another grad student, on the tower.
Finally, here is what the OBS's look like:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

All Aboard!

It actually started last Wednesday. We set sail from Astoria with plenty of "Goonies" references to go around.
The boat is a steel monster about 400 feet long. There's three decks, with cabins, the galley and mess hall, a few different labs, a movie room, reading room and a weight room with white padded walls. It's all very "Life Aquatic", if you get the reference.

We have been in transit for the past three days, getting our computers and systems up and running. We arrive at our first deployment spot tomorrow morning at 5:30 am. That is when we'll put our first ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) down. The OBS itself is a sphere about 16 inches in diameter made of inch thick glass--these suckers are heavy! It's vacuum sealed with the instrumentation inside and attached to an anchor. When we are done with the survey, the sphere is timed to detach from the anchor and it'll float to the surface of the water. Our boat will pull up alongside it and we'll scoop it out with a net and crane.

That's our science portion of the post for terms of daily life around here, the other grad students at I are starting our shifts tonight. We will have people on shifts all 24 hours, since we will be collecting data constantly. We each have two 4 hour shifts during the 24 hours and then we sleep and do other work around that schedule. My shifts are from 4-8 in the morning and evening.

I will try to update here every couple days or so and will get some pictures going as well, at least so y'all can see where we are going and where in the world we are.