Update on my Seagoing Adventures
Today is our last day in port. Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM we set sail for Antarctica!
I've been hearing some scary predictions about the weather for our transit from New Zealand to Antarctica: gale-force winds and very high seas. I talked to the doctor today and he's prepared to take care of me should I have problems with motion-sickness. They're telling everyone to secure everything -- anything free to move, will move!
I've spent the last few days -- since Jan 4th -- helping with the unloading and loading of the ship. It's been VERY exhausting work! Unloading core samples and trash and other stuff from the previous expedition, and loading all the stuff we need for this one. We've got everything imaginable that one might need for a two-month trip to Antarctica. The ship and all it's lifeboats could all sink, and I'd still be able to survive in my full-body survival suit.
I've been given a developer's laptop, with all the software development tools the IODP uses, and access to their source code. When I'm not directly employed as a Core Technician (and not sleeping), I'll be learning the ropes and experimenting with the tools and projects. I may even get a chance to fix a bug or two while I'm out here.
The people here are all very nice, and great to talk to! Some of my favorite times of the day are mealtimes, when I can sit down with some of the scientists or other IODP people and learn what they do, what they're hoping to accomplish on this mission, or just talk about where they're from or what interests them. There are about 25 or so scientists on board, and just about every one of them is from a different country. Then there are the lab techs, crew people and so on, who are also from all over. It's very cool!
I attended a meeting with the scientists this morning, and they talked a lot about what they are hoping to accomplish. A lot of it went way over my head, but one thing I found interesting is that some scientist somewhere has made a prediction based on some theories that he's proposed, and we will be doing some experiments to either validate or falsify his predictions. Kind of like when Einstein predicted, based on his relativity theory, the precise way light would bend around a star, which was later verified when telescopes were invented that were powerful enough to see the effect directly.
There is a ton -- actually several tons -- of cool scientific equipment on board. Just the little bit I've learned about that so far has my mind spinning.
I'm really excited, and somewhat scared, about leaving port in the morning. Well, it's not the leaving port, but the high winds and waves that has me scared. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get seasick. The ship's doctor is ready to help though. He's got several kinds of meds for me to try, and says I shouldn't worry.
Keep checking back here in the days and weeks to come for more updates! Also, you can search YouTube for "IODP 318" (that's our expedition number) or maybe "IODP Wilkes Land" for videos. The videographer says he plans to release an update on YouTube every week. They should be fun and interesting, and you might catch a glimpse of me now and then!