A Travellerspoint blog

First day out


Cutting along to the NNW under very cloudy skies. The sea is very calm, swells in the 1 meter range. Great ride so far. There is supposed to be a large storm hit us with "gale force" winds tonight around midnight. See what happens then.

Slept better last night. Not too surprising after an 18 hour day as I converted over to my 12 hour shift. I think I am going to like the noon-midnight shift. Got up this morning around 9, exercised in the gym for awhile, showered, wasted some time around the room and still was sitting down to work early. Have to be careful of the meals though. This puts me out and awake at way too many feeding times.

Posted by pafrag 15:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Leaving on the transit


Well we pulled out of San Diego this morning at 0700 under grey cloudy and hazy conditions. Quite cool on deck with a strong breeze at about 60 degrees.

My cabin this time is much smaller, about half the footprint of the large one I had on the last transit. Advantage is my roommate this time is on the other shift, so no snoring to deal with. Good thing. Last night he snored. However by the end of today (Wednesday June 24) we will both be on our "normal" shifts. I have noon to midnight which seems great to me.

Lot of work queued up, but it is still early morning and I have already put in two hours, even though I don't actually go on shift for another two hours yet (noon).

Lots of very new people on board because the School of Rock is on ship this transit. A bunch of high school and middle school geology teachers learning about what science is carried out on the ship and how. About a dozen of them, plus some extra scientists as instructors. We have been promised that our work takes priority and if we need to take a lab out of service they will work around us. To be seen.

Not sure what kind of weather we are heading for, haven't even looked yet. So far, good seas, but we are just about 20 miles out of port.

No time changes this trip. We will be on Pacific time the whole way.

Posted by pafrag 09:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hawaii --- sort of

I have been in Hawaii now for three days. I know the route between the hotel and the ship real well, and a few restaurants. That's it.

Work has continued to consume all my time and energy. By the time we get back to the hotel in the evening, it is dark and we are all hungry. After dinner it is late enough that mostly we just crash till the next morning when we do it all again.

HOWEVER, today, March 9th, I am not going to work for an entire day. First time in months that I have had an entire day off. Free at last, I prepare to walk down to the beach, look around Waikiki, maybe a little shopping. At the end of this soon to be wonderful day, I fly home. Life is good.

Posted by pafrag 09:19 Comments (0)

Almost there

We are only 15-20 miles off the shore of Hawaii this morning at 0600. Pilot should come on board in a few hours to take us into the harbor. Then customs has its way with us and we should actually be "in port" around 10 AM.

Then starts the circus. Lots and lots of people are here to officially welcome the ship and kick off its first real production expedition. (We were just the test drive.) Will be a real three ring circus here most of they day. And probably the next few days. All while those of us with work to do are trying to get the new crew trained to use the software.

Still, I am looking forward to the events that come today. Like, this afternoon I get off the ship and go to a hotel. I get to have a bathroom I am not sharing with three other people. I get to sleep in a quiet room with no snoring roommate. I get to sleep in till 6 AM since we are not leaving for the ship tomorrow until 7 AM. All novelties I am looking forward to. Party later tonight, I get to eat and drink with someone else paying for it. Life will be good.

Posted by pafrag 08:51 Archived in USA Comments (1)

STILL on the way to Hawaii

Weather is clearing up a bit, but if anything it has gotten windier. For those of a nautical bent, we are solidly in Beaufort 7. Winds consistently between 30-35 mph, gusting higher. An advisory was put out to hold onto something when venturing out on deck. Not only are the decks slippery with spray, the combination of wind and ship heave can knock you down.

Of course I had to go out <grin>. I did avoid the bow area, staying about midship on the port rail where I could view most of the wave action up at the bow and still avoid most of the splash. Even the higher decks are getting spray now up at the bow. It was intense. A 35-40 mile wind cutting across the water with nothing for it to run into except you. Spray directly off the waves, not from the ship hitting the water, but grabbed right off the wave tops and flung along by the wind It stings when it hits.

The waves bouncing off the sides of the ship sometimes hit hard enough to lift the anchors on the sides of the ship. That is a big bang let me tell you. The biggest waves hit us almost head on, slightly to port. There is another longer swell from about 45 degrees to starboard. The different timing of these causes some interesting motions, but when they combine to crest and trough at once, we really dip and jump. The ship drops away from you, leaving you feeling weightless for a moment, then comes up strongly beneath you forcing you down towards the deck. The weightless feeling is great, but hang onto something for the next part.

And of course, the crew and older staff are still laughing at us. These are 20 foot waves. They describe 50 foot waves hitting this ship, where the water was flowing freely across the low center of the ship where the drill floor is, about 30 feet above sea level. The worst storm that hit the ship had waves at over 70 feet. They hit the front of the ship hard enough to blow the windows into the bridge, at over 60 feet above sea level. Two people were lashed together with a long tether and went out and nailed plywood from the outside to protect the bridge so they could continue to steer. A lot of stories around about that trip, some of our current crew and staff were there. Guess they have a reason to laugh at these waves.

This means that the ship is bouncing around even more, and going slower. We have a high wind profile unfortunately and headwinds of this strength cut heavily into our speed. They are now estimating a 6-12 hour delay in arrival, now getting to Hawaii about mid-day on the 5th instead of in the early morning. No real difference to me as I continue working with the ship and training the new oncoming crew until the 9th.

Bouncing or smooth, makes no difference so long as I am heading home.

Posted by pafrag 13:28 Comments (0)

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