I. DAY THREE: Tuesday, June 22, 2004
This morning we got an earlier start. After a terrific breakfast at 7:00 AM we were scheduled to arrive at station two by about 8:00 AM. We arrived right on time and began working. I forgot to mention yesterday about what we are wearing when we work with this grab. Since we are on a NOAA vessel we must follow their safety requirements. The equipment is stored on the lower deck, which has cables overhead, for this reason we are required to wear hard hats while working on this deck. We are also required to wear flotation equipment at all times. There is no railing where the grab is lowered and raised; if it became rough there is always the possibility of falling overboard. For our personal protection we wear rain pants over our clothes and high rubber boots. The first grab was perfect but rocks sabotaged both grab 2 ans 3. This is primarily a sand bottom but there are rocks. If a rock manages to wedge itself between the doors of the grab it will not be able to close and all of the sample will fall out whole on route to the ship. It was approximately 2 PM by the time we redid the previous grabs and finished sorting the samples. We added the necessary chemicals to our sampling jars and took a well-deserved break. We will now be heading toward station 3. Station 3 has a gravel bottom. We do not take samples from a gravel bottom instead we will view the video that will be shot at this site. As I mentioned before this is a NOAA vessel, which has policies regarding safety, so we were advised of these policies and informed there would be no drills. All drills on board ship are noted by the ship's horn. The number of blasts signifies the type of alarm. For example: three blasts indicate a fire, five blasts indicate man overboard, and seven blasts indicate abandon ship. The captain covered us on all the procedures and necessary equipment. He showed us where to report depending on the situation. Shortly after 3:00 PM the drills began. I enjoyed watching the fire drill. We were only required to grab life vests; hats and sunglasses meet on the upper deck and stay out of the way. The crew members however, had to put on fire gear and pull out fire hoses. They shot the water off the back deck and of course because of the water pressure it was a pretty cool sight to see. A few minutes later the ship's horn sounded seven blasts. This drill required a little more equipment, life vests and something called a "Gumbi" suit. You may remember a cartoon character called Gumbi? He was this kind of green weird shaped rubbery guy. Anyway, when you put this suit on, you become him. This is a completely inflatable suit that you put on like a wet suit but with about twice the difficulty level. Dann, one of the scientists with us, went to a special training just for this suit. He said that if you had to go into the water it would not only keep you afloat but also prevent hypothermia and if a group of you were in the water you could actually join hands and maneuver around, almost like a life raft. I was thinking that must make you feel pretty secure in a very dangerous situation. After our drills we went back to the lab to view some more videos of the ocean floor.
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