It is now exactly one week before I leave Cape Cod to meet the R/V Melville in Brisbane. I am excited about the science we will be working on and about the cruise actually getting started; a little nervous about everything that needs to be sorted out before we get going; and looking forward to meeting all the members of the science party that I have been emailing and having phone conversations with for the better part of a year. What I am mostly excited now about is seeing Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. I can’t wait to look up and see a different night sky. I will have to remember to take some star charts with me. A long time ago, I had a friend who moved to New Zealand, and I remember her telling me that one constellation that is visible in both the northern and southern hemisphere is Orion.
At some point in this journal, I will have to remember to tell you the story of how this particular cruise developed and the changes it has undergone. It is winding tale that includes politics, pirates and propellers. But, it will have to come later as time is short just now.
This past Monday I had a wonderful visit to the Bridgeview School where we talked about climate change and the upcoming cruise. Over the past week, I have been arranging travel and hotels, filling in and collecting forms, updating the lists of chemicals we will be using, getting updates on the progress of the Melville as it heads south from Keelung, Taiwan, and finalizing the list of science personnel.
We had a couple of people drop out due to illness at the last minute, so replacements had to be found. Now, I am rearranging where everybody will be sleeping on the ship. We are double-checking how much of the water we collect will be needed by each group. Those 10 liter bottles on the rosette might look big, but I think with all the different aspects of ocean science our groups are interested in, we will not have much left over.
Today, I am going to be sorting out where the different groups will be working in our main lab – a difficult task for me since I have never actually seen the main lab. We need to sure that each group has enough bench space, enough storage space, the type refrigeration they need, and access to seawater, freshwater, sinks and fume hoods if necessary. I will put together some ideas. On Nov. 16th, I will get together with our resident technician, Keith Shadle. He and I will take a walk around the ship to see if those ideas will actually work. On the Nov 17th, the members of science party will show up and we will begin loading and unpacking. The main event will hoisting two 15,000 1b vans onto the deck of the ship.
Okay. Here goes…I am going to try uploading this first entry into our cruise web-journal, and then I am going to write to Keith to see about setting up the web email address on the ship. First though, although I am addicted only to decaf, I think I am going to need a cup of coffee as it is already nearly 11 am (local time) and the tea I made for breakfast has gone cold.