Mission & Objectives
Scientists & Crew
Shipboard Computer Technician Dan Jacobson
Dan deploying an XBT (expendable bathythermograph).
When did you start working for SCRIPPS and where have you gone?
tends to the multibeam sonar plotter which we rely on for picking
I was working for a software company in Bloomington,
Indiana four years ago and wanted to go someplace warmer. I found
an announcement for this job and the words Duty aboard seagoing
research vessel popped out at me and I thought, Wow!
thats what I want to do. Primarily I work as the systems and
network administrator. Ive traveled now on Scripps ships to
New Zealand, Korea, Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa
Rica and now the Galapagos and soon Peru. When the ship was in Guam,
I went to Bali for vacation. Ill be in New Zealand again in
January. The travel is grand, no question about it.
The highlights would be Korea and Bali. Both places call into question
my own way of living. Bali is especially nice, because it makes you
feel stupid. There is so much you dont know about how they live
their lives and their relationship to each other, to religion and
to civil authorities. For example, I can visit a temple there, but
I cant recreate the experience that they have when they visit
a temple. In Bali they had one high-rise tourist hotel and Im
told everyone was so incensed by the look of it, that they passed
a law that no buildings would be higher than a palm tree. Its
a gorgeous, grand place to visit because of its preserved look. In
Korea its largely mountains and flatlands. Both are preserved
and yet they have an enormous population. They build huge high rises
in their cities, complexes on the foothills of the mountains or the
edge of the cities, but only shrines and temples on the mountains.
The flatlands are used for agriculture. Its astonishing that
they can preserve so much of the natural beauty with such an increasing
urban population and that they continue to make those decisions is
monitoring the SeaNet system while transferring the daily e-mails
and Dive and Discover web site materials.
Where did you grow up and what inspired you
to begin traveling?
I grew up in the small town of Graettinger,
Iowa, where the population was fewer than 1,000 people. My father
was the local vet. I read Robert Louis Stevenson and Ernest Hemmingway
growing up and began entertaining the idea of traveling at an early
age. My sister, Madge, left home first and returned with many stories.
So you could say its her fault. I studied engineering at Iowa State
College, but drove site-seeing busses in the national parks of Colorado
as a summer job. I would see the tours come through and I thought
they might provide an opportunity to travel more so I got a job with
one. Once I graduated with my engineering degree from Iowa State College,
I started traveling and I never stopped. I worked for a number of
tour guides around the continental United States and Hawaii, Canada
and the Caribbean. I also spent some time in Asia, Europe and the
What did you learn about yourself from these
I learned to understand the difference between
what is my responsibility and what is not. Now I only worry about
the things in my control and I wont worry about the things I cant
control. For example some of the tourists would say, If it rains
tomorrow what will we do? And I would say, Well, you can't
worry about the rain.
I also learned that things usually work out pretty well. People in
general are pretty nice; its not true that there is always a bad
one in every barrel as they say. Often I found that what begins as
a misfortune can turn into a blessing. When the bus broke down in
Jordan, it took five hours for the tour company to bring us another
bus. In the meantime, everyone wandered about the desert examining
rocks and flowers. It was quiet lovely and ended up being the highlight
of the trip.
keen ping pong player, Dan practices on board.
What are your responsibilities on board Revelle?
Im primarily involved with systems administration,
data collection, storage and programming. We have two communication
systems Im in charge of monitoring. Both systems rely on the
InMarSat satellite network. We communicate with the closest one of
four satellites that are in geosynchronous orbit around the equator
- meaning the satellites orbit at the same speed of Earths rotation
as though they were tethered above the equator. We have the Revelle
communications systems and the SeaNet system. The Revelle system
is the equivalent of a phone call. SeaNet, developed by WHOI and the
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, provides the UNOLS fleet with a
high-speed data communications system. SeaNet is set up like an Internet
connection between the station here and the shore.
It can be pretty hectic at times, but with each new cruise we have
a new community and the opportunity to build new friendships. We are
all interdependent on each other and working toward a common goal.
Its pleasant and fulfilling and the travel experiences are wonderful.