Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Setting Sail

The day has finally arrived!  We are at sea.

Prior to our departure from San Francisco, I made a last minute trip to Trader Joe's to pick up some last minute provisions (chocolate, trail mix, Pringles, etc.,).  It's not uncommon to see scientists with some sort of comfort food while away from home.

Light measuring instrument
My morning involved the installation and set up of a light sensor and logging system.  This device is used to collect data on the light emitted during the day (it measures the light as a micromolar concentration of photons).  The installation was easy, but getting the program to work and downloading the data took almost the rest of the day.  Andrew Shellenbach (Univ. of Western Ontario) and I, worked with the ship's computer tech to get the data transferred from the logger device to our computer.  In a classic case of problem solving--we were finally able to download our first set of data.

Abandon ship drill
Shortly after lunch, we had a fire and abandon ship drill.  We mustered inside the lab to take roll and made sure that everyone was accounted for.  We carried our survival suit (also known as a Gumby suit), life jacket, and "go bag" filled with food and water to the meeting area.  After the fire drill, we moved to the top deck to simulate a scenario in which we would have to rapidly leave the ship (fire, sinking, etc.,).  On a day in which the temperature climbed into the mid-80s, we got into our thick and cumbersome Gumby suits. The goal was to don them in less than a minute.  As uncomfortable as they were, a lot of us took time to take photos of each other.

We departed from Pier 15 shortly after 4pm.  During that time, most of the scientists were on deck to take photos and video as the R/V Melville sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge.  We were surprised to see that someone was on the bridge, waving and cheering us on.  It happened to be a lab partner of Heather Richard  (Romberg Tiburon Center-San Francisco State University).   That was a great way to be sent off!

Sailing under the
Golden Gate Bridge.
Most of us ended the evening by making sure that we were prepared for the morning.   Solutions were made for experiments and filtration systems were ready as we continued toward our first "station."   I will take part in the first at-sea sampling by deploying the CTD-Rosette to collect water samples from various depths.  The science will finally begin.

Preparing acetone for
chlorophyll extractions.

Setting sail...

Leaving San Francisco

Catamarans crossing across the bow.

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