July 6, 2004
At Scripps, we show our passports and gain security entrance into the dock where we find R/V New Horizon, with a length of 160 feet, breadth of 36 feet, depth of 15 feet and built in 1978. She is to depart at 0800 tomorrow with our science party and 12 crew for the Gulf of California for eighteen days. The scientists scurry aboard, eager to see their new workspace and home. Protocol is to ask permission to board, but no one is around to ask, so I sneak a few pictures, then gingerly board while looking out for dangerous cables. Fred is opening his laptop on his new office space. Heavy machinery and voices come from the dock. Pallets arrive. Jeremy, the young resident technician, looking the age of a high school student, manipulates a crane winch and lifts cradled pallets onto the deck. Our food has arrived! Mark the Cook, Heather the Third Mate, Matt the Able Bodied Seaman and I carry boxes of bananas, jugs of milk, ice cream, etc. to the galley. I realize that we are already working as a team and our job is done within the hour...just in time for the white pallets to arrive!
Now I figure out why we arrive a day ahead of sailing. This is our science equipment! Unwrapping my mystery boxes full of peanuts and bubble wrap, I find flasks, giant bottles, tubing, chemicals, probes, and nets-clues to the science experiments we will do. I wonder if I will be smart enough, coordinated enough and strong enough to be helpful on the trip. I am an eager learner. Later in the afternoon, Brian Popp asks me if I would be in charge of the Winkler Titration. I give an enthusiastic "yes", with vague memories of high school chemistry class- not really sure of what I am getting myself into. I will learn more about the Winkler tomorrow. Our immediate task is to get the gear stabilized and tied down tonight, ready to steam tomorrow. After a full day of unpacking and stabilizing with those handy bowlines, I choose the bottom bunk, and fall asleep for our first night aboard New Horizon.
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