Sept. 9, 2005
By Jim Cowen
Things were hectic and
we had to work through a few problems, as is always the case. The ship
also discovered a problem with one of its radar units just as we were
about to pull away from the dock at our scheduled departure date and
time (0800 hr Sept. 8). Since the coast guard requires that we have
both systems operable, we had to fix it, ultimately delaying our
departure by 25 hours (0900 hr Sept. 9). However, we are on our way
now. We are starting to hit some seas and it is expected to keep
growing tonight. Everything is tied down. The first dive, which is
planned for tomorrow morning, is questionable due to weather, though we
will be on station in plenty of time. We have worked our way through a
number of electronic problems with our submersible to instrument sled
communications. We have been able to reduce some of the noise problems
that we have been having, but not all of them, such as wiring in the Alvin.
We will just have to modify the plan. We have back up to back up plans
so should be fine. Good group of scientists on board.
Everyone received their pre-dive briefing today. There are many safety
issues when diving to great depths with three people and lots of
electronics crammed into a 6 foot diameter sphere. So the pilots
patiently explain all of the safety features and procedures to every
person who might make a dive, even if you "have heard it before". The
ship's captain, first mate, shipboard ship-science technician also goes
over safety and other procedures with the assembled scientists.
Tomorrow we will have fire and abandon ship drills.
Tomorrows dive day will start at about 0600 hrs when the pilots start
prepping the submersible, Alvin. Alvin will be rolled out onto the
fantail (aft working deck) at around 0730 hrs. Scientists will climb
in at 0745 and the Alvin should be launched by about 0800hr. This could be
delayed or cancelled if the weather does not cooperate. We'll let you