Gib Finney’s sequel to THE POWER OF UN
Rough Water, But No More Ice!
28 June 2008, Finney @ 7:09 pm

[This post written 6/28/08; position: lat -54’15”, long -60’20”; temp 4C; wind chill -12C]

There are a lot of things I could write about tonight, but dude, we are in some rough water and I am not feeling so hot. So this will be kind of short.

These are pictures of the Nathaniel B. Palmer’s engine room, which is one of the most awesome things Ash and I have seen on the trip. Rainy does not agree so much. She says no matter how great an engine is, it can’t compare to a monster iceberg. And she probably has a point. Still, as you can see the ship’s engines are way cool. The guy in blue is the engineer who showed us around. His name is Jerry Lake. It is so loud down there we had to wear ear protectors part of the time. I guess it’s not surprising. I probably mentioned this earlier. But the NBP has four giant Caterpillar engines with a total of 12,000 horsepower. Today I also learned that the NBP makes its own fresh water! It uses waste heat from the engines to take seawater and remove the salt from it so we can use it for drinking and showers. All this time, I was feeling virtuous for not showering very much, because I thought we probably just had a big tank of water, which I would rather drink than stay clean with. Oh well.

Also, we had a big meeting today where all the scientists talked about what they had done on our voyage, and what interesting things they had found out. A lot of it I couldn’t understand. We saw a totally awesome movie of stuff the Phoenix ROV saw. They saw a lot more of those round dimples in the underwater ice (and I learned that they are sometimes called suncups.) And we saw the salp chains, a jellyfish, and a squid that had been partly eaten. Dr. Shaw and Dr. Twining talked about the chemistry of the water, and the ways it differs depending on how close you get to the iceberg. Dr. Vernet talked about the microscopic life forms she has seen on the voyage, and how they differed from her last iceberg voyage, which happened in the Antarctic summer. Nicki Middaugh and Vivien Peng talked about their studies of the bacteria in the seawater, and how different things seemed to affect them. Dr. Helly talked about his measurements of the icebergs. Dr. Rock showed us pictures of the underwater parts of the icebergs that he made using his special sonar device. And Dr. Kaufmann talked about the animals they found in the MOCNESS, and how they differed depending on where they were in relationship to the icebergs.

Now the scientists will go home to their labs in the U.S. and spend some time looking closer at the data from their experiments on the voyage to see exactly what they show. And in March, they will come back down here and do some more!