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> July 22, 2006
post Jul 26 2006, 01:55 AM
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Group: TREC Team
Posts: 27
Joined: 19-July 06
Member No.: 39

When I woke up at 7:30, the ship was quiet. Headed down to the gym for a run, and when I came back up to the room, there was a frenzy of activity. Saturday is cleaning day. All rooms, including those used by non Coast Guard personnel are inspected for cleanliness by the Executive Officer. The sound of vacuum cleaners came from the hallways and the stairwells.

The science party is responsible for cleaning the labs and the common toilet areas. Two rooms share a common shower and toilet. I had bathroom duty for the room this week. I tracked down some cleaning supplies and made the best effort to sanitize and disinfect. There are five of us using this bathroom, so you can imagine the dirt and smells that are possible. Bleach and the cleaning solutions on the ship help make quick work of this less than savory task. The rooms looked pretty good when I was done, and we didn't receive any comments from the Executive Officer.

At about 10:00 I finally made it to the science lab. Talked with Harm about his plan for the day. Learned that we would soon try a test deployment of the steel cage that will be used to hold and protect the air guns when doing seismic work. The cage will serve two functions. One reason is to protect the guns from ice moving under and around the ship that could cause damage. Second, the cage helps maintain the orientation of the guns so that they produce a more directed sound pulse.

By 10:15 that plan had changed. The test would be postponed until after 1:00 or whenever helicopter ops were concluded. Joe, one of our pilots, came into the lab looking for Polar bear training on the fantail, or back part of the ship. This training had been scheduled for 10:00 and Joe had been walking around the ship looking. At about 10:30 there was an announcement that the training would be on the bow deck.

Joe and I headed to the bow where gun training for the young officers was taking place. The captain and other members of the crew where there for the rifle training. When out on the ice, someone is always responsible for watching for Polar Bears. In the event that they become hostile and there is no escape, the Coast guard members are trained to use the weapon as a last resort. The gun was so loud that all persons on the bow during the training were required to wear ear protection.

Spent the afternoon before watch talking with Beth about her work doing marine mammal observations and helping Peggy assemble a couple of the antenna supports for the seismic refraction work.

By 2:45 the aft deck control room had permission to do their test deployment of the gun cage using the a frame crane. The test went well. The cage is the size of a small room and weighs about 2000 pounds. We still have to attach guns and hoses before the cage can be used but that is in the works for the next couple of days.

Started watch at 4:00 to clearing skies. By 4:30 we could see blue sky for the first time on the cruise. Chase and Russell, my watch team, were involved in gun assembly with Jay and a few other members of the science team. Once underway, the repair and maintenance of the guns will be the responsibility of the seismic scientists.

Saturdays are traditionally rest days for the cooks and other members of the crew usually prepare the evening meal. Today Paul arrange for many of the science party to take over that duty. They handled everything from serving the food to final cleanup.

After dinner, there was Bingo in the mess at $1.00 per card. The blackout prize was a handheld GPS unit. Following Bingo, the helicopter hanger was converted into a movie theater with big screen, popcorn, and the works.

Harm and Anatoly started some basic testing of the remote seismic equipment. They positioned the antennas at various locations on the deck and tried to establish contact with the units. They continued to test and trouble shoot for several hours in preparation for test deployment on the ice as early as Monday.

They also practiced loading and unloading the equipment in the helicopters. With Dave and Charlie's help they were able to figure out a system that would work efficiently and safely using tie downs to hold everything securely.

The ship would get underway again at 10:17. We would head ESE in an effort to get to some 50/50 ice where we could do some final testing of equipment, but would still be close enough to Barrow to helicopter in for logistics and transport of personnel. Russell reset the Seabeam controls to manual settings and we started to back and ram on our new course.

Huge chunks of ice were pulled under the ship and out the back by the props as the ship slowly inched forward. Semi sized chunks of ice would shoot up just past the fantail as we moved forward. The data was noisy, but we were back underway.
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