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> July 18 - 2005
Betty_Carvellas
post Jul 19 2005, 08:43 PM
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July 18, 2005

Today we start our last line of stations. After that, we have a single station north of Barrow and we'll be done with mud sampling. We're north of the Bering Strait now, into the Chukchi Sea, and the weather has improved. It's still overcast, windy and cold, but the rain has stopped and the wind has died down. We have seven stations on this line, and in between stations, I'll work on my journal and try to tell you a bit about some of the crew on board and the work they do.

Clearly the most important member of the crew is the captain. Starting as a steward in the Coast Guard in 1966, Commanding Officer Norm Thomas has been a captain since the early '80's, and he's been on the Sir Wilfrid Laurier since 1996. With the bridge higher by one deck and a shallow draft (6.5 meters, or about 19.5 feet), the Laurier is well designed for the ice work it does in the western half of the Artic.

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Throughout the day, and especially when we're out on deck working, I find myself thinking ahead to the next wonderful meal. The two cooks responsible for the cooking are Chief Cook Bert Boisseau, originally from France, and Second Cook Jerry Daly, originally from England. I was interested to find out how they stock all the wonderful food we eat while on board. Bert told me that they load all the dry goods for the entire Arctic cruise of about four and a half months, before they leave Victoria. At crew change at the end of six weeks, they re-supply the perishables. Since the 47 member crew and, for now, the ten member science team must eat three meals a day, seven days a week; the cooks never get a day off. As Bert said, they are always working to a deadline; they are up at 4 AM to start breakfast at 5, and they finish with the work for the evening meal by 6:30 PM. It's a long day with only a one hour break in the afternoon. As if preparing 150 meals/day isn't enough, Bert and Jerry provide two main course selections at both lunch and dinner, and fresh snacks are available round the clock.

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Gerald Rohatensky was on board when I was here last year; I couldn't manage without him then and it's the same story this year. Gerald is the computer person on board, and he's the one who gets my laptop set up, providing hours of advice and setting up numerous shortcuts to make posting my journals and pictures an easier task. When things go wrong, he's always right there to help set them right.

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It's now 10:45 PM, and we're almost at our last station. We started this line at 6:40 this morning and made the decision not to take a break other than the time between stations. All of us are anxious to get some sleep once we're done, hopefully soon after midnight. Shortly after the last station ended, whales were spotted all around the ship. I spent quite a bit of time on the bridge watching the gray whales. If you have to be up late and working, watching whales is a great way to spend the time.
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