June 26, 2006
I woke up at 4:30 am. No one was around. The pumping unit was leaking at the GF/F clamps. Wallis walked by on her rounds and helped me fix the equipment. She was on the midnight to 8am watch. I liked the way she talked her way through the problem.
At sunrise we could see the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance. It looks exactly like the picture used by the insurance company. After we did the air and seawater filter changes, anyone who was free hung around the fly bridge to take photos of the rock. We crossed the rock at 12:00 noon and entered the Straits of Gibraltar. It was heavily traveled and resembled rush hour in NYC. Since it is only 7-8 miles wide caution had to be taken when navigating through it. On the right we saw Spain and on the left Africa. On the Spanish side there were rows of windmills close enough to see them turning and lots of homes. The view on the African side was spectacular. There was a huge mountain (tip of the Atlas Mountain range) and the vegetation was very sparse. There was no sign of human inhabitation there. It took 4 hours to travel through the Straits. The Captain stayed at the wheel the entire time. The other ships traveled very close to the Endeavor. The radar screen looked like a Christmas tree. Once out of the Straits the wave patterns changed. The ship started to rock and pitch again. The crew tells me it is the wind direction that causes this change. The salinity of the water was also different.
We now have the data collection procedures streamlined and several staff members have volunteered to help out if Eric was not up to it. They always tease us about the blue gloves we use when working with the equipment. The quality of air seems to have improved, we can now take air samples every 24 hours instead of the 12-hour changes we were doing. Most of the data readings are becoming predictable and it has become a game to see who can guess the right readings on the flow meter.
With only 10 crew and 3 science team members, we are a very small group. I enjoy talking to the crew and getting to know them better. It is interesting to find out why each of them chose to be sailors. Every one of them has a genuine love of the sea. John has a MS in Psychology, Joe has a BS in Math yet both chose to work on the Endeavor.
Today I found out that 1000 liters of purified water has to be dumped daily. I now enjoy (guilt free) long showers twice a day. The evaporated water piped to the showers is wonderful for the hair and skin. It is as close to rainwater as possible.
After dinner the stove was acting up. Wallis was assigned to take apart and fix the problem. I admire the way she always faces every problem as a life lesson. She attributes to her training in Marine school.