Friday, September 3, 2010

Ship break

Port Fouchon, Louisiana
After arriving in Port Fouchon, Louisiana I have had a short hiatus on my blogging for two reasons. 1) The ship has been grounded in port for some 'minor' modifications and 2) I had to travel to New Orleans to meet with those in charge at the UAC.  Even though I have only been on this boat for a few days it was kinda hard for me to watch it change. This seems to be a pattern in the shipping industry, everything is dynamic or subject to high amounts of flux. It ranges from the weather to the sea conditions to the ship crew. Even those things change there is a constant that remains- the Captain and the overall skeleton of the ship.
So basically in the past 2 days the ship has gone through a dramatic transformation. This includes the addition of a CTD sensor. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature, and depth. It is a very important tool for determining the properties of sea water and can provide precise data on the variation of temperature, salinity, pH, and density. In addition, this CTD has a methane and dissolved oxygen sensor. As part of the research we will also attach the most sensitive fluorometer to measure the hydrocarbon concentrations at depth. This is very exciting because we can collect a wide range of data up to 1500 m depth!  Exciting work ahead. In order to get this peice of equipment on the ship there needed to be a few modifications. There was an addition of a large A-frame for the deployment and also two large winches that help in the deployment process. The ole ship literally had its deck cut off in pieces and the barrier cut to make way for the A-frame platform.

Construction on the ship at view of bridge

Side of ship that A-frame will be placed
During the majority of the construction I spent my time in meetings in New Orleans making plans for the next ship's mission in the gulf. This was lots of fun especially being in the heart of the UAC. The strangest observation I had during my time there was that the US Coast Guard seemed very limited in diversity not in a male/female sense. I am not sure why that caught my attention it was simply an observation. They are all so well dressed and formal in their activities, I felt quite bizarre as a 'civilian'. To be honest, even though I was on land for a while, I still had my sea legs and was itching to get back out to sea. Hopefully tomorrow morning it will happen. In the meantime I spent 2 evenings in New Orleans hanging out with a different friend each night. Friends I had not seen in a while. One friend, Jeff, is a friend from graduate school. He just got a position as a geology instructor for UNO and then my friend, Robert. Robert was an old high school friend. We had a good time re-living some of the experiences we had and then learning a little more about our life during the past 5 years. All and all, it was just lovely to stroll down Royal street and the remainer of the quarter while in good company and being in the completely lovely New Orleans evening weather.

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