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> July 26, 2006
Steve_Stevenoski
post Jul 29 2006, 01:09 PM
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July 26, 2006

The ship bounced around like a wagon on a dirt road as we broke through the ice heading north to our first location to do seismic. It was a beautiful blue day, blue sky, blue water and blue ice. White was the only other color on the pallet. Larry Phillips indicated that this kind of day was truly unusual. The norm in this area was fog and clouds. We enjoyed the day taking more pictures in one day than we had taken in the last week.

The watch change took affect today. New people in charge at the data screens keeping log, and others acting as cover and working on maintaining and operating the seismic equipment. Hillary is working on a special project to produce an electronic log of the cruise for the Coast Guard.

Harm thought at the rate the ship was traveling it would take us about 36 hours to reach our first area to do seismic work. Thirty-six hours seems like a long time, but there are still lots of things to finish before the first air gun is fired and the first piece of data is collected.

Mark is preparing 2 gun controllers, one for the GI guns and one for the Bolt guns. He is also working on the software used for data collection. There are still discussions about how to locate the drifting instruments once they are put out on the ice from the helicopter. Harm is looking to finalize waypoints for our first seismic location. This includes maps showing tentative locations for deploying the instruments and also shot line that the ship will follow.

Anatoly painted all the instrument boxes so that they would be more visible on the ice. Harm thought that it would be quite possible that either today or tomorrow we would do a helicopter recon. Before we can deploy the instruments we have to do a recon both to check the ice and to burn some fuel to lighten the helicopter so that it is safe to fly with the instruments.

MST's Chad and Amy secured the towing lines to the cage. Matt, Russell, and Kevin cleaned and reassemble the last GI gun and attached it to the cage, and tightened up all the bolts.

Afternoon conversation with the scientists and crew covered everything from why Coast Guard ships are called cutters, to the origin of knots. (Any ship longer than 65 feet is called a cutter, and all Coast Guard ships by tradition are called cutters.)

Spent most of the day taking videos and taking photos just like everyone else. The cameras were everywhere. Throughout the day the sky just got blue and the shutters just kept clicking.

Started watch with Max at 4:00. Max is the 15-year-old son of Paul our seismic processor on the cruise. Since the last watch the ocean depth had changed from 45 meters to 3800 meters, about 2.5 miles deep. The Chirp signal that rings through the hull happens just once every 10 seconds. In the shallow water it pinged just as soon as the last ping ended.

Larry Lawver stopped at watch to find our current long and lat so that he could determine how long it would take to get to our first seismic station. Given our current position it and speed will take us about 36 hours to get to our first station.

Russell and I just hung out on the port side watching the chunks of ice tumble by. Every once in a while a chunk 20 feet long or more would cartwheel in the water, producing a waterfall as it bobbed and rolled past the stern of the ship as it continued its slow melt in the mid summer sun.

Posted a to do list with Dale for tomorrow. Many little things to complete before the guns can be deployed and fired for the first time. By 9:00 the fog had moved in and most of the daytime shift were heading to their beds to get some sleep. As we plowed north, Harm, Marcy and Steve worked to produce maps with waypoints, shot lines and positions for the seismic instruments. These positions were tentative and dependent on the ice conditions once we arrived at the starting coordinates.

At 11:00 the marine mammal observers indicated that a polar bear and cub were at a distance greater than a half mile from the ship on the ice. A number of people went up to the bridge to take a look through the watcher's binoculars. Even with binoculars they were small figures jogging away from the ship across the sea ice.
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