May 23, 2005
This morning I woke up to see clouds in the sky, but it seemed that the ship was in a patch of sun. The clouds disappeared by afternoon.
We continued to take seismic data until about 5:30 pm. We then pulled the equipment out of the water. I am really getting the hang of this and am really enjoying being out on the deck helping. (It still is strange to put on the steel-toed boots, hard hat, and life vest.) Once the equipment was out, we were ready to launch the ROV. I was on the first shift to watch the cameras and take notes with Tim Masterlark as he described the geology of the ocean bottom. Of course I don't know the correct terminology so he has to tell me what to write. Friable mudstone? Looked like fragile rocks that were made from mud to me!
We spent about 20 minutes on the bottom and then we saw pink bubbles coming from the arm of the ROV. The joint was losing hydraulic fluid quickly and the dive had to be aborted for repairs. This meant another hour to bring up the ROV, time to fix it, and then another hour to take it back down. While the repairs were being made, we drifted enough to have to spend time cruising back to the site. Have you noticed how flexible and creative the ROV crew has to be? It seems they do everything. You see the guys that pilot it laying on their backs to fix a problem or taking apart things and getting greasy. During this time, I finally got the tour of the engine room. Hugh is the chief engineer and I now realize how huge his responsibility is! He told me that he substitute teaches when he has his five weeks off between work and I thought he was a tough guy. After seeing his job with the engines, now I know he is a really tough guy. Chad and Fish gave me the tour. It was very loud, hot, and smelled of fumes. Not only are these men in charge of the huge engines that power the two propellers, they have to maintain the engines that power the thrusters that allow the bridge to control sideways movement as the ROV is deployed. This makes it possible for them to keep the ship in one position. The engineers also take care of the fresh water supply, which is made by heating the salt water. Although they cannot make as much fresh water as we use each day, it does allow them to supplement the supply. Now you might think that this was enough responsibility- but no, they also take care of the electricity, air conditioning and the food coolers for what Chad called "the house." My admiration is huge for these guys!
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