Dive and Discover: Interviews


A.D. Colburn, Captain, R/V Knorr

Question: Do you have a favorite time of day aboard the ship?
A.D.: The end of the day. If you can hit the rack knowing it was a productive day, that it was safe, that everybody’s OK, that things are going according to plan, then that’s terrific.

Question: What advice do you have for students considering a career as a ship captain?
A.D.: It takes determination and you have to be able to take responsibility. The buck stops with you—successes and failures. You have to love it, want it, and continue to work for it. Also, anybody can become a sea captain. I know more and more women in very responsible positions on ships, including two relief captains.

Question: What did you think of the movie The Perfect Storm?
A.D.: I haven’t seen it yet. I’m not superstitious, but tragedy at sea is not something I’m drawn to.

Andy Bowen, Expedition Leader

Describe your role on this expedition. What does an Expedition Leader do?
Andy: I help the scientists achieve their research objectives and teach them how the equipment works. We work together to try and make Jason and other vehicles do what the science party needs to accomplish their goals—to get a sample they want, or complete an experiment. For example, we’ll use the sonar on Jason to locate the vents. I help the scientists understand a little more about what the sonar can achieve, what its capabilities are.

Question: You work long days preparing and caring for the equipment. What’s the longest stretch you’ve worked without sleep?
Andy: Thirty to 36 hours, something like that. It happens on occasion.
Question: I understand that you are building a new Jason at Woods Hole. Tell me about that?
Andy: This Jason has been in the field for about 10 years. Technology has changed a lot in that time, so even though this Jason has been upgraded and enhanced, we have reached the point where we need to redesign the vehicle using the latest technology. Jason II will have two manipulator arms instead of one and it will be able to carry more weight. We’ve got the design and a lot of the parts. We began putting the vehicle together last fall. It will be ready for testing in summer 2002.