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> May 12, 2006 – Everyday Life, A Day on the Healy
post May 15 2006, 05:31 PM
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May 12, 2006 – Aboard the Healy
Longitude: 172 12.803 W, Latitude: 61 56.738 N

I have been getting a lot of questions from readers about everyday life aboard the Healy. Everyone seems to want to know: Is the food good? What do we eat on the ship? How cold is it outside? Have we seen any animals? In fact, I have gotten so many of those types of questions that I’ve decided to dedicate this journal entry to answering them.

What type of food is served on the Healy?
The food on the Healy is really good. Full meals are served three times a day: Breakfast is from 0700 to 0800, lunch is from 1100 to 1200, and dinner is from 1700 to 1800. There is also a special meal called “Midrats” that’s served right before midnight for those people who work the midnight-to-noon shift.

The food varies, but it is always delicious. A typical dinner might offer as choices pot roast, chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, salad, and assorted desserts.

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Everyone gathers in the messdeck at mealtime.

How cold is it outside?
The temperature varies, but today it was roughly 32 degrees F. But with the winds, it feels much colder. When I am out on the deck, I always wear my gloves or else my fingers start to hurt. And I always, always dress in layers!

Have we seen any animals?
Various members of the Coast Guard and science team have spotted many kinds of animals. Among them are walruses, bearded seals, ribbon seals, and different types of birds such as murres, gulls, spectacled eiders, and even a rare bird called McKay’s bunting. And don’t forget all of the brittle stars, basket stars, crabs, clams, and sea worms!

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A bunch of walruses were spotted on the right-hand side of the Healy.

What do people do on the ship during their spare time?
Most people are scheduled to work 12-hour shifts. So there isn’t all that much spare time. However, movies are shown three times a night: at 1600, 1800, and 2000. And members of the science team give talks every so often at 1900. There’s also a gym onboard the ship so people can exercise. There is no TV!

Do people have to wear special clothes when they work outside?
Yes! Anytime someone is working outside on the deck, they must wear what is called a “mustang suit,” waterproof steel-toed boots, and a hard hat. There is a lot of heavy equipment out on the decks, so the boots and hard hats protect us from injuring ourselves. The mustang suits are a bright orange color and are heavy. They have two roles: To keep us warm and to make us stand out in the water if someone should fall overboard.

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An orange mustang suit, steel-toed boots, and hardhat like the ones I’m wearing here are required of anyone who is working out on the ship’s deck.
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