Friday, February 20, 2009

1300 miles and counting

Hi all,

We're slowly getting closer to P.A., but slowly is the operative
word. Our top speed is usually about 11 knots, but yesterday we
probably averaged more like 9 as the wind was blowing at 30-40 knots
all day. The ship was pretty stable in all of that but the views
were limited. Lots of spray and low clouds, mixed snow and rain.
It's calmer today -- we may have even seen a quick glimpse of sun.
We are still seeing icebergs fairly frequently, although they are way
smaller and more eroded. It doesn't take long once you get past the
continental shelf break for icebergs to take a beating by the seas
and (relatively) warm water.

Even though the waves are smaller today, there may be more movement
on the ship. The waves are hitting us on our port side as opposed to
head-on, illustrating the difference between pitch and roll. Where
it really makes a difference is the pingpong table, which is aligned
with the ship. Any type of lob moves a lot before you get a chance
to hit it.

I'm busy writing a section of the cruise report and editing some
others. Although we've still got 5-6 days before port, several
gentle reminders have been made prodding us to produce something
sooner rather than later. Yesterday I cleaned all of the oxygen
titration equipment and got the titrator to be broken down. Have to
admit, I'm not sorry to see that responsibility go away. It's
necessary, but a little anticlimactic. You spend a lot of time very
carefully making sure that you get values that have already been
determined by the sensors. Of course, if the sensors are wrong, it's
invaluable to have a double check, but still it's a lot more work
than reading a screen at the CTD console.

I'm also getting prepared to send some O-18 samples home (did I ever
talk about O-18? should I?) and have scored an ideal box on board the
ship. So I'm amassing all of the packing materials and making sure
they don't break on the long journey back to the states.

So between the cruise report, emails, thesis writing, and the blog,
I'll be doing some writing over the next week or so. Yet another
reason to hope for calm weather. Gets a little old to be rocking
back and forth while staring at a screen...

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