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> May 6, 2006 - Semper paratus!, Oh no, a SAR!
post May 9 2006, 05:52 PM
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Saturday, May 6, 2006

This one is for my dad, retired U.S. Coast Guard

Today, we were supposed to board the Healy and she was going to set sail tomorrow but, that didn’t happen. While the Healy was in transit from Seattle to Dutch Harbor, she was called to do a more important duty. A passenger on a small sailboat, the Jersey Clipper, was badly injured and needed immediate medical attention for possible internal injuries. Because the Healy was the closest ship in the area, she was re-routed for a Search and Rescue mission (SAR). She rescued the passenger and the medical corpsman (pronounced core-man) was able to stabilize that passenger and give him much needed, however temporary, medical attention. He was then flown off the Healy as soon as it cam in helicopter range of land. As the motto states, the U.S. Coast Guard is semper paratus, always ready!

The Healy finally arrived in Dutch Harbor on Saturday afternoon and we were on the dock to see her pull in! At first, she looked smaller than I thought she looked in pictures. It wasn’t until after she was right next to the dock that I came to appreciate all 420 feet of her.

Healy at Dock
IPB Image
Our first look at the Healy!

The crew looked like worker ants. They were scurrying about all over the ship to do the things that needed to be done in order to secure the ship at the dock. They all worked together like a well-oiled machine with many working parts.

The crew brought the brow (stairway) down from the ship to the dock and secured it so that we could walk on it. The captain of the ship, Dan Oliver, walked down to the dock to greet us before we boarded the ship for a tour.

During our stay at the Grand Aleutian hotel in Dutch Harbor, Patty and I have met many of the scientists and technicians that will accompany us on this cruise. One of those technicians is a girl named Theresa. She works for Scripps Institute of Oceanography and will be responsible for training people on how to use the CTD – one of the pieces of equipment used by the scientists (more on that later). I mention Theresa here because, she has gone on many research cruises as part of her job requirements. What a cool job! Since she knows a lot about boats, she showed us around the Healy and taught us about “boat etiquette.” (What is etiquette?)

Patty and I learned the basics of how to travel around on the ship safely. There are many stairways and lots of doors. It is important to never lose control of a heavy door while the ship is rocking, because you can easily be injured. Many of the doors are “watertight.” That means that they must be “dogged,” or locked down, every time you go through them. It really makes for a complicated route from point A to B.

Theresa also taught us that you should never sit in the captain’s chair on the bridge where they steer the boat, but that it was ok to be on the bridge if you stayed out of the way. Theresa was a big help to us while we toured the Healy for the first time.

We were able to see our scientist staterooms and the science lounge. My name was already on my door! My assigned roommate is a scientist on this cruise. Her name is Karen Frey and she is with UCLA. I did not get to meet her because she probably left the ship to go into the town of Dutch Harbor to sight see or to run errands. I will definitely tell you more about my room and my roommate in later journals.

After we toured the Healy for about an hour, we got back in our van and went to dinner. I had some delicious chicken tamales at Tino’s, yet another Mexican restaurant on the island. It seems to me that both of the Mexican restaurants in Dutch Harbor carry the same sort of food that Mexican restaurants in my home neck of the woods carry.

So, this is my last night in the Grand Aleutian. I am having mixed feelings. In a way, I am anxious about moving in to a little room with an unfamiliar roommate, worried about seasickness, and afraid of the uncertainty that lies ahead. At the same time, however, I am ready to get this expedition going and settle into a comfortable routine of working with the scientists and documenting my journey. I can’t wait to tell you about the ice!
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