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Rob "Blackbeard" Palomares entertains the lab with some pirate songs.
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Daily Update

Dispatch 10 - September 19, 2003
By C. A. Linder

Weather conditions: Fog, 5 kt winds, calm seas, air temperature 28°F

Ahoy me hearty! Shiver me timbers, today was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and what better way to celebrate than to be on a ship on the wide open sea. In order to celebate this momentous day, the Captain set the official holiday schedule and we did our best to make old Yellowbeard proud. Our devoted morale representative, Martha Delaney, made us all eyepatches and even a companion for our chief scientist. Rob Palomares provided some morning entertainment in the main lab playing his concertina. After lunch the junior officers and science party sang some pirate songs and we recognized the most convincing pirates aboard. If you fancy yourself a swashbuckler, take the Boston Globe Talk Like a Pirate Quiz.

We are continuing our steady pace sampling with the CTD across the Chukchi Sea. This morning in the dawn mist I spotted some pacific walrus swimming away from the ship, and just before dinner two more were sighted.

Here are some questions about shipboard life from Morse Pond School students:

Question from Nick and Dylan (Mrs. Werner's class) : What fun activities do you have on the ship?
Answer: Aside from holidays like Talk Like a Pirate Day, there is Saturday night bingo, games of cribbage, and of course, movies every night (read more below about movies).

Question from Dana (Mrs. Rodgers' class): What are you doing when you aren't doing research?
Answer: There are so many different things to do on the ship, I decided to ask three different people what they do with their free time.

The sun made a fleeting appearance today.
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Val Schmidt is a former Naval officer with lots of experience at sea. He answers this question: "MOVIES! This ship is like a cross between a floating Blockbuster and your local drive in. Every night there are 4 movies shown (2 at a time on different channels) and a bunch of us gather after dinner in the "science lounge" to watch on a big screen TV. In warmer climates and calm seas, I've seen them wheel big speakers out on the helo-deck and show the movie with a big projector on the helo-hanger door. Everyone brings folding chairs and sits out under the stars. It's a little tough to hear over the ship's engines but pretty darn nice. And we've all brought lots of books to read. Some are science related, some are about Eskimos, some about the Arctic, and some are novels (Tom Clancy and the like). If you want to read about Eskimos, look for a copy of Kabloona. Last, when I'm really bored, I go "ship spelunking". This ship is larger than any I've ever been on before and there are always compartments and levels I've never found. It's great fun!"

Jeremy Kasper is a student getting his PhD in oceanography. He had this to add: "When I am not working on my research or standing a CTD watch, there are tons of things to do. My favorite non research activity is enjoying the view from deck as we steam through the sea ice fields and cold Arctic waters that I spend most of my time at school in Fairbanks thinking and reading about. Occasionally, I'll play "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," the video game. Also, I use the Healy's gym, watch movies, read and spend time talking with others onboard."

Ryan Schrawder is a mooring technician. He answers: "Well if we aren't doing ctd's or mooring work, there are a bunch of things to do that keeps the mind occupied. You can read a magazine or a book, work out in the gym. The gym is amazing on this ship. You can also watch movies. They have a set movie schedule for every night. I brought some of my own movies, so I have watched a few of them when we aren't working. The other amazing thing is having email access twice a day, it's great to be able to use the internet while we are out here."

Nick from Mrs. Werner's class at Morse Pond School wanted to know:
Question: How many rooms are on the ship?
Nick, there are over 150 different rooms on the ship. About 50 of them are living quarters, called "staterooms." Almost everyone on the ship has to share a room with others. There is room on the ship for 141 crew members and scientists.

Watching a movie in the science lounge.
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Question from Libby, Morse Pond School: What do you watch on TV?
Answer: There are TVs in all of the lab spaces and in common areas like the galley, but we don't have the luxury of tuning in to regular channels. The TVs are linked to the ship's realtime video camera system, so we can watch the helicopters take off, see where the ship is headed, or watch the mooring work on the fantail. We can also see CTD cast and other environmental (wind/air temperature/ship's position) data.

Question from Mrs. Cadwell's class at Varnum Brook: We heard there were movie theatres. What kinds of movies do you see?
Answer: The ship we were on last year, USCGC Polar Star, did have a small movie theater that could seat about 30-40 people. The Healy doesn't have a dedicated theater but there are several lounges on the ship. There are close to 1,000 different movies in the ship's inventory so variety isn't a problem!

To follow up on yesterday's dispatch, the lowest recorded temperature on Earth was measured at Vostock II, Antarctica : -89.2 C (-128.6 F) on July 21st, 1983. Now that's cold!

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