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Daily Updates: January
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Daily Updates: February
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cloudy weather
Partly cloudy
75°F (24.1°C)
Latitude: 18deg 38’ 53” N
Longitude: 104deg 24’ 42” W
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed: 14.5 Knots
Sea State: 2
Swell(s) Height: 1 Foot
Sea Temperature: 83°F (28.6°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1014.3 MB
Visibility: 10 Nautical Miles

what's to eat today?

French toast
Canadian bacon
Scrambled eggs
Sauteed potatoes
Assorted fruits
Multigrain oatmeal

Salad bar
Tater tots
Chicken with rice soup
Tuna Sandwiches
Grilled reuben sandwiches
Fried rice

Salad bar
Halibut with ginger sauce
London broil with onions and mushrooms
Half baked potato
White rice
Cauliflower with cheese sauce
Black and white cherries
Daily Update: Leaving Port
January 27, 2000
By Dr. Dan Fornari

At 0910 hours RV Atlantis left Manzanillo, Mexico after a 4 day port stop where the scientific personnel from Cruise 1 departed and went back home, and a new group of scientists arrived to set up and prepare for their cruise to the East Pacific Rise. The morning was hazy as the ship pulled away from the dock. Captain Silva steered the Atlantis away from its berth and out into the harbor. We did not have a Pilot on board because all of the Pilots in the port were busy with an enormous barge crane that had just arrived - it required all of the tug boats in the harbor and all the Pilots to coordinate its docking.

Atlantis quickly picked up speed and was soon making 13 knots towards the first Alvin dive site on this cruise which is near 9° 37’N Latitude and 104° 15’W Longitude, the crest of the East Pacific Rise where the water depth is about 2500 meters. Only about an hour out of port we came upon a school of more than 40 bottlenose dolphins which flipped and jumped just off the starboard side of the ship and played in the bow wave.

Everyone got a great view of these beautiful marine mammals and their playful antics; it was a wonderful send-off to the open ocean and the discoveries that wait for us there.

Safety First!
Safety is the first priority on board any ship. This afternoon, the scientists were welcomed on board at a meeting with Captain George Silva, Chief Engineer Kevin Fisk, and Expedition Leader (the head of the Alvin Group) Pat Hickey. They explained how to work safely in all parts of the ship and the schedule for life onboard including when we have meals and when Alvin dives.

We had our first fire and boat drill, required by law, so that everyone on board knows what to do in an emergency. We were given instructions on where to go in an emergency, how to abandon ship, what to do in case of a fire, and how to put on survival suits, also know as Gumby suits because they make you look like the cartoon character of the same name.

Orientation for Divers
Even though Alvin has never had a serious accident in its 30 year history, trained pilots take the scientists who will dive inside the sub for an orientation session while it is on deck. The pilots teach the scientists about safety, emergency procedures, and how to operate the science equipment. The Alvin pilots tell the scientists how to use the underwater telephone so that in an emergency they can call the ship for help, how to use the emergency breathing masks, and how to release different pieces of equipment to free the sub if it gets stuck. Because the inside of Alvin is so small (a 6 1/2 foot sphere), the orientation gives pilots the opportunity to observe each scientist to see if they might become claustrophobic during a dive. Alvin pilots are used to “going to the office” on the bottom of the ocean for about 8 hours a day. But scientists, who usually spend their days in the laboratory, may not be able to adjust to the cramped conditions inside the sphere for such a long period of time.

Everyone is getting their sea legs, getting used to standing and working on a rolling ship, although the sea is quite calm so far.

Some of the scientists were busy most of the day working with members of the Alvin crew to get the geophysical instruments ready for the first dive. Others were busy preparing the towed camera sled so that it will be ready for its test lowering on Saturday night. In the meantime there is still a lot of work to do while we transit to the dive site. We should be there by Saturday morning, Jan. 29. Then the plan is to install a transponder net so that we can navigate Alvin as it traverses the seafloor. We plan to drop three acoustic transponders, the beeping devices that Alvin uses to navigate on the seafloor. Since there are no signposts on the seafloor, Alvin has to have a way of knowing where it is. Alvin determines its position relative to the three transponders by listening to their beeps - a process called triangulation.