Sunday, 28 December 2008

Smashing ice, taking excursions, and launching probes

Yep, another day on the Shack.

As mentioned previously, our days of waves are over, and it's now eerie icebergs floating by, like this one:

And then there's sea ice. We've been cruising along quite nicely, our steady pace occasionally punctuated by a crash and a shake as we hit sea ice. But a crash and a shake is far better than rolling waves. You can even sleep through it. Just now, we ground to a halt briefly, as we hit some thick stuff. Here's a shot along the side of the ship:

But by the time I took this picture, and came in to convert it for the blog, we had reversed engines, backed up, and smashed it again. Now, we're back cruising through open waters again. Dramatic changes in scenery, over the course of minutes.

Anyway! Yesterday, as part of our delayed Christmas holiday, we took a "vacation" from the Shack to....a location 75 m off the bow of the Shack. In a dinghy. It was cold, and wet...but pretty neat.

We got there, looked around, said "hm.", and then came back. Still, it was nice to have a subtle change of scenery. (Or at least a change of vantage point.)

On board, I have a certain responsibility: I am an XBT man. There are two of us, and we're responsible for dropping temperature probes off the aft deck. These probes are lead weights with a long thin copper wire attached, that sink down to at least 500m, sending back temperature information. The devices are launched by a "gun" that unceremoniously "plops" the cylindrical object over the railing of the poop deck, a couple times a day. (yes, there's an obvious joke's too obvious for me to include.)

Although, actually, we aren't allowed to launch the object, because it involves leaning on a railing. Apparently, we need a certification to do this, so we need to bring a crew member to actually do the dirty deed, while we collect data.

Ah, regulations. Next they'll be telling us where and when we can...well, you know.


Anderson said...

So you probe? You are a prober? That is your job? How many times have the words 'That's what she said' come out of your mouth?


Ryan said...

"Stop! We've reached the limits of what XBT probing can teach us."

- Kang