September 9, 2009
I've been very busy the past few days with school phone calls, dredging, watch, and occasional sleep. This schedule will probably continue through the end of the cruise next week, but for those of you waiting anxiously, I promise you future adventures of "Mud Boy." Today though, I wanted to answer and "show" some of the questions I've received about life on the Healy (plus it gives some of the less science-minded readers time to recover from the past few entries - although I am determined to convert all of you into closet science geeks yet).
In several classes, students were very interested about daily living on the ship. I've already described our staterooms, food, entertainment, and science labs, but with 130 people aboard for 6 weeks (and the crew aboard for almost 3 months) the Healy has to be a "floating city" with many of the amenities of home.
When we're not working, people spend time in the Science or Crew lounges reading, visiting, or on the computers (we only get Internet when we're far enough south and during certain times of the day when the satellites are in range - usually when I'm sleeping). The lounges have a pretty extensive library of books that people have brought and left for others. For TV entertainment, 3 different movies are shown at 4, 6, and 8 pm, there is a library of DVDs available for check out, and when we're far enough south, the ship receives the AVN (Armed Forces Video Network), which has several cable feeds. People also spend their time with cards, cribbage, or playing music.
For exercise, we can go to the gym. One of them on the lower deck has weights and cardio equipment; the other one has cardio machines only and is located above the helicopter workshop. The ship even provides the number of laps per mile (including ladders) around the various decks - 5.3 from the bow to the fantail with 2 ladders per lap.
When our clothes are dirty, we have a complete laundry room. We were asked not to use our own detergent because it suds too much and has too high a concentration of phosphates, which are difficult for treatment and disposal.
If you run out of any personal items (toothpaste, shampoo, gum, etc.), want a souvenir (sweatshirt, coffee mug, hat, etc.), or just need a caffeine "fix," there's even a store/coffee shop, where we can get flavored coffee, espresso, or even cappuccino made to order.
And, because this is a military ship and there are regulations for hair length, the Healy even has its own barber.