Gib Finney’s sequel to THE POWER OF UN
The Engineers’ Motto
8 June 2008, Finney @ 6:47 pm

[This post written 6/8/08; position: lat -57’49”, long -44’28”; temp -8C; wind chill -23C]

Hurray, hurray. I’m not seasick today, and the sun came out for a while, too. Also, we got to go out on deck and watch some of the things that were happening, and A LOT was happening.

First, I guess I’d better tell you the weird part. Strike has started saying things to me. I am totally not kidding. After I told this to Rainy and Ash, I saw them whispering to each other, which does not make me feel good. I mean, I feel strange enough about it myself, without other people starting to wonder if I’m cracking under the strain of all this cold and cabin fever. But I swear my best oath, Strike talks. Not much, and it’s a whisper, and mostly at night after Ash is asleep. See? I do sound crazy, but I’m not. This is real. Last night as I was falling asleep, he said, “Gib, I need to go outside. I have to see that iceberg. Stick me in your pocket tomorrow, will you?”

This freaked me out so bad that I shouted and almost jumped out of bed. Ash said, “Whaszamatter?” still pretty much asleep, thank goodness.

I said, “Uh, nothing, nothing. I guess I had a dream is all.”

So he went back to sleep, and I got carefully back under the blanket, and there was Strike whispering, “Chill, my friend. I’m okay, you’re okay. I just need to see the iceberg.”

And that was the end of it. That’s all he said, nothing more, no matter how much I whispered to him. So I didn’t exactly know what to do, so I stuck him in my pocket and took him outside with me today. I had a hard time deciding whether to tell Ash and Rainy, but then I thought All for one, and one for all, and went ahead and told them.

As previously mentioned, there was a lot to see. Now that we have found the perfect iceberg, the scientists are working around the clock, even way after dark, and way after normal people’s bedtime. So Ash and Rainy and I can’t see everything that happens, because some of it is while we are sleeping. But I will do my best to tell you about it.

First thing this morning, the wind was blowing about 20 mph, too much for the airplane. So Plan B, Slingshot went into action. The engineers set up a slingshot using the ship’s starboard a-frame. There’s a picture of it above, with Jake loading a sandbag in for practice. The practice shot did not go well. The sandbag just went into the ocean and didn’t get anywhere near the top of the iceberg, so there was no use trying it with the real payload, the GPS beacons. But as Paul said afterwards, “You have to try things. If you never try, nothing ever happens.” This could be an engineer’s motto. It sure sounds right.

So it’s the plane or nothing. There is still time to wait for the wind to die down. We will see what happens.

After that, Steve E. shot some more harpoon markers, but the ice is so hard that they wouldn’t stick in. They just bounced off. How does the ice get so hard? It happens over hundreds or maybe even thousands of years. New ice on top of old ice packs the old ice down more and more and more, until finally it is hard as rock. Sometimes it gets so hard that it turns blue. No kidding. We have seen blue icebergs on this trip.

Now Dr. Robison and his team have launched the Phantom ROV. It’s too dark and cold for us to watch that now, but we’ve been listening to the guys talking on their walkie-talkies, which we can hear on the TV in our cabin. Cool, huh? The water is very stormy out there, and it sounds like they are having maybe a little too thrilling a time. I will let you know more tomorrow. I took Strike out of my pocket, and I sort of hope he never says anything again!