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> July 1, 2006
Betty_Carvellas
post Jul 5 2006, 04:39 PM
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July 1, 2006

Although I arrived in Victoria, BC on Tuesday, we didn't sail until this morning at 7:30. For the past two years, I've joined the ship at Kodiak Island, Alaska after it's been out of Victoria for a few days. This time we had to wait for crew change and a safety inspection. We (Rebecca Pirtle-Levy, Peter Lee and I) used the time to get to know this beautiful city as well as the surrounding area. Rebecca works with Jackie and Peter does sampling throughout the cruise. I'll tell you a bit more about each of them in future journals. After doing errands to prepare for the cruise, we took one day to drive as far as possible along the west shore of Vancouver, Island to Port Renfrew where we walked through a temperate rain forest to get to a beautiful rocky beach.

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Botany Beach is a beautiful spot at Port Renfrew, along the west shore of Vancouver Island, BC.

Yesterday was set up day for us, and we were lucky to have the extra time since this year's science crew is considerably larger than in my previous two years. Eleven are on board until we reach Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where five more will join and one will leave. Although the lab on board works very well for science, it's a bit crowded at the moment as everyone is setting up and working to sort out space and storage. We also worked in the on-deck van moving and unpacking containers full of equipment. The van looked much better today, and the upstairs lab is starting to take shape.

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The main lab on board the Laurier is small but very adequate. It just doesn't look that way when everyone's boxes, gear and supplies are packed in on the first day waiting to be set up.

Once we got underway this morning, we all participated in the mandatory safety briefing and drill. Even though we all laughed while struggling to put on our immersion suits, they are extremely important in case of an emergency. Following our briefing and drill, the science team met to hear an outline of the trip science plan and to allocate jobs for the first portion of the cruise. There always seems to be a shortage of warm bodies to help with the sampling once we start, so anyone who has a bit of "free" time tries to pitch in. Because our sampling won't start until after we stop at Dutch Harbor, Rebecca and I will be helping out with the bongo nets, two very large nets which we lower over the side to sample plankton. On our first try today, we all practiced the procedures we'll be doing for the next several days. I'll have pictures and more detail about the bongo nets later on.

Before we sailed, we spent lots of time on land and came back to the ship each night. Next to a huge cruise ship docked nearby, the Laurier looked very inviting!

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The Sir Wilfrid Laurier is an icebreaker based in Victoria, BC, and its patrol area is British Columbia and Arctic waters. Its duties include resupply, aids to navigation, science, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and icebreaking.
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