Daily Updates: May 2002
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sunny weather

82.9°F (28.3°C)
Latitude: 0 deg 45.1'S
Longitude: 90 deg 17.8’W
Wind Direction: SW
Wind Speed: 11 Knots
Sea State 1
Swell(s) Height: 2-4 Foot
Sea Temperature: 85.8°F (29.8°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1010.6 MB
Visibility: 12 Nautical Miles

what's to eat today?

Fresh Fruits

Fresh Salad
Cheeseburgers and Fries
Tuna Pockets
Shrimp Soup

Fresh Salad
Salmon with Tamari
Corn and Beans
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Roast Potatoes
Cheese Cake and Ice Cream


Heading out—at last!
May 24, 2002
by Lonny Lippsett

Like all oceanographic voyages, this one was planned months ago. You know how hard it is to get the car gassed up, everything packed, and everyone ready and out of the house and into the car? Well, imagine getting scientists from all around the country and all their scientific equipment to a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean to meet a big, world-traveling research ship. It was all arranged to happen on April 13 from Puerto Ayora in the Galápagos Islands.

But a few weeks before, the motors of our research ship, RV Atlantis, unexpectedly needed repair. It happens to cars, and it can happen to big ships. Cars are somewhat easier to fix, however. Two holes had to be cut in Atlantis’ stern deck and the motors, weighing several tons each, were lifted out. They were fixed, returned through the holes, and the deck was welded shut. It took about a month—which completely threw off Atlantis' tight schedule of research cruises.

Jon Alberts, ship scheduler at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, had the very difficult job of contacting the hundreds of people who were affected by the delay. And he had to arrange a new schedule that wouldn't disappoint scientists who had waited months to go on cruises.

In the end, a few scientists shortened their cruises and two cruises were delayed until next year. Most everyone else remained in line to use Atlantis and Alvin—but six weeks later than expected. A lot of people changed a lot of plans.

Dan Scheirer, a Brown University geophysicist who will help make seafloor maps, wasn’t even scheduled to come. Dan Fornari, a Woods Hole marine geologist, called him up a few weeks ago to see if he could take the place of another scientist who was originally signed up for the cruise in April, but could not make it now. Similarly, Lara Kemper, a Woods Hole graduate student, signed on a few weeks ago to replace another originally scheduled technician who was committed to go on another cruise in May.

Stace Beaulieu, a Woods Hole biologist, was surprised last Thursday when she was asked to replace another scientist who was injured in a motorcycle accident. On Tuesday, Stace was on a plane to South America.

Susan Humphris, a Woods Hole geochemist, had planned to piggyback last month's cruise with a vacation to the Galápagos. She had already bought her tickets and took her vacation in April. Now she is back again.

Bob Collier, a geochemist at Oregon State University, and Anna-Louise Reysenbach, a microbiologist at Portland State University, had carefully arranged for colleagues to teach their classes while they were away in April. They had to work out new arrangements. Anna-Louise will try an experiment—teaching her classes via e-mail from the ship.

Craig McLean, Director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Exploration Program, which is funding this cruise, unpacked a bar of soap from a Paris hotel when he arrived onboard. He had traveled directly from an oceanographic meeting in Paris, to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and then to the Galápagos. “I had to pack for all three trips up front," he said. "I thought I would have a chance to enjoy my slides from Paris before shipping out again.”

But the delay was a blessing in disguise for Tim Shank, a Woods Hole biologist. The cruise was originally scheduled to end on April 25—the due date of Tim’s second child. This will be Tim’s first cruise as Co-Chief Scientist, and he was caught between two mighty obligations. As it turned out, his daughter Calista was slightly delayed, too. She arrived April 28.


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