[This post written 6/28/08; position: lat -54'14", long -60'27"; temp 4C; wind chill -13C]
The water is pretty rough today, so I apologize in advance if this post seems a bit anemic. There are a couple of comments to respond to. One is from NickZ from awhile back. Nick wonders whether I’ll be able to use the multi-colored iceberg as a taking-off point for some artwork. Maybe, Nick, though I haven’t done any real painting in years. At the moment, I’m finding photography to be a pretty good outlet! Boby, thanks for your kind words. Yes, these blogs will stay online. I hope they will remain useful and interesting for some time to come.
As you can see from the pictures, today we got a tour of the Nathaniel B. Palmer’s engine room, which is one of the cleanest and roomiest I’ve ever been in. Also the loudest. As you can also see, we wore ear protectors part of the time. The NBP has four Caterpillar engines (about 12,000 horsepower total), and even though only two of them were online today, they produce quite a roar. One interesting fact I learned today is that the NBP produces its own fresh water for drinking and bathing by using waste engine heat to desalinate seawater. I suspect this only surprised me because I’m pretty naive about the workings of ships. But it impressed me. There is probably less worry about water usage on this ship than there is back home in California.
It was so loud in the engine room that didn’t catch the name of the fellow who gave us our tour — who is shown in the bottom photo, in blue. Thank you, it was a great tour and I enjoyed it very much. [Added later: His name is Jerry Lake. Lake is a shortened version of his real last name, which is even harder to spell than mine. Thank you, Jerry, great tour!]
We also had a big meeting during which our principal investigators presented summaries of the work they have done and the results they have gotten during the voyage. That was very interesting. We were treated to footage from the ROV and half a dozen fascinating slide presentations. It is too early to make many firm conclusions based on the work done during this voyage, but in several cases, the results look tantalizing and important. Clearly, we have gathered an enormous amount of information about everything from the chemistry of the seawater near icebergs to the nature of the life forms. In addition, we’ve tried some new ways of doing things — I’m thinking particularly of the RC airplanes and Steve Rock’s sonar device. And these are tools that will clearly prove useful in the future. It has been a wonderful voyage.