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Daily Updates: March 2000
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partlycloudy weather

Partly cloudy
80.6°F (27°C)
Latitude: 9 deg 36.4 ’N
Longitude: 104 deg 15.1 ’W
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed: 6 Knots
Sea State 1
Swell(s) Height: 3-5 Foot
Sea Temperature: 84°F (28.9°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1011 MB
Visibility: 10-25 Nautical Miles

what's to eat today?

Creamed Beef on Toast
Coffee Cake
Fried Potatoes
Fresh fruit-papaya, kiwi, watermelon, strawberries
Assorted cereals

Sub Sandwich
Chicken soup
Macaroni cheese
Tuna stuffed avocado
Oyster shooters
Salad bar

BBQ Babyback ribs
Scalloped potatoes
Fried rice
Fresh baked bread
Salad Bar
Home made raspberry sherbert
Supersonic lemon bars

Getting into the rhythm
March 29, 2000
By Dr. Dan Fornari

Over the past few days, everyone has been getting used to the routine of the watch schedule -- four hours on watch, eight hours off watch. The students who stand the watch from 0000-0400 hours were a bit bleary eyed for the first few days. They compared it to being jet-lagged (when you travel long distances on airplanes and your biological clock gets turned around) or what it feels like when they stay up all night studying for exams. Coffee helps keep some people awake, but gradually your body gets used to being awake at night instead of in the day. The night-owls on this expedition are Rachel Haymon’s 0000-0400 hour watch which includes: Clare Williams, Greg Kurras, Tim Head, and Tim Haskell. Randy Dickau flies the sonar fish and Tom Crook keeps watch on the navigation systems in the wee hours of the morning.

No matter what time of day or night it is, there are always people sleeping. Every science cabin, except for the Chief Scientist’s cabin, is quite small, and is shared by two or more people. The beds are bunk beds, like a lot of kids have in their rooms at home. The taller people on board find it quite a challenge fitting into the narrow and short bunk beds, but are usually tired enough that they have no trouble falling asleep.

We have been collecting wonderful sonar data for over two days now. We started surveying on Monday morning, and surveyed along the East Pacific Rise crest from 9° 35’N up to 10°N latitude -- a distance of 25 nautical miles. We then turned and headed to the south. At 2300 hours this evening, we had traveled about 40 nautical miles to just south of 9° 20’N latitude. We hope to reach 9° 10’N latitude by tomorrow morning just after breakfast. We will then pull up the sonar fish so we can head down to 3° 20’N latitude to start surveying our next site.

One of the main jobs of the Chief Scientist is to plan all the survey operations carefully so that we collect the maximum amount of data possible. I spend a lot of time planning the logistics of the sonar surveys and thinking about what to do if problems arise. So far, we are doing well. We are only a little behind schedule because of the electronic problem with the DSL-120 sonar that we had last Sunday. We have actually made up about 8 hours of survey time by increasing the speed that we tow the sonar by 0.20 knots (nautical miles per hour). We are now towing the sonar fish at 1.5 knots. That may not seem like a lot to you, but over several days the small increase in speed saves enough time to allow us to survey quite a bit more of the seafloor.