Gib Finney’s sequel to THE POWER OF UN
The Phoenix Rocks Our World
17 June 2008, Finney @ 10:32 pm

[This post written 6/17/08; position: lat -57’49”, long -43’40”; temp -9C; wind chill -29C]

Rainy and Ash and I are all sitting around in the office of Adam Jenkins, who is the guy on the ship who everyone goes to if they have questions. Not that we have any questions. It’s warm in here, which is capital G Good if you have been outside in the cold weather all day, which we have. Also, Adam has a couch, and it’s big enough for all three of us to sit on, and he is letting us drink hot chocolate while we’re here. We would be insane to be anywhere else.

Some nights, it is easy to write this blog, and other nights it is hard, and it is hard tonight. Rainy says it’s because I’m tired, and maybe she has a point. I wouldn’t mind being in bed right now with The Golden Compass catching up on the adventures of Lyra and Yoric the ice bear. So Ash came up with the idea of doing a post that is mostly pictures tonight, which we all agree is a great idea.

When we got up this morning, it was colder than usual, and outside there were small, dry flakes of snow whirling in the wind. The iceberg, A43K (I think it needs a better name, and will ponder it), looked as if it went on forever, disappearing into the mist.

Today was a big day for the engineers, who were ready to launch their ROV, the Phoenix. Here you can see Paul McGill and Steve Rock taking a last look at it before opening the big doors to the sea. Paul put a flashing beacon lamp on it, so they might be able to see it if it got lost after dark. Just a precaution, which turned out to be unnecessary because things went so well!

Here is everybody bringing the Phoenix out of the lab onto the A-frame deck. Right after this, they hooked it to the big winch and lowered it into the water, which was rough and dark and scary-looking. The Phoenix looked small but brave. Upstairs in the aft control booth, Brett Hobson and Alana Sherman were ready to work the controls together while Paul did communication and kept an eye on the read-outs.

And here’s the final picture — the Phoenix headed for the iceberg, working just the way everyone hoped it would. The birds were as curious about the Phoenix as they were about the Ice Mosquito yesterday. I am sure they have never seen anything like this. After all, nobody has. 🙂

Today’s story has a totally happy ending. The Phoenix sent back very cool pictures of the iceberg. They aren’t as good as the ones we got from the old ROV, but they are pretty good, and they show the underwater parts of the iceberg. The Phoenix also collected seawater samples for Tim and Ben, much closer to the iceberg than the ship could ever go.

All I can say is, engineers ROCK! Hooray for the Phoenix!

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