D341: Porcupine Abyssal Plain cruise 2009


Cruise blog

Tuesday 28 July 2009

A Day In The Life Of...The Scientists


Alarm goes off


Snooze goes off (will definitely get up in the next 20 minutes!)


Get up, get shower, breakfast.
We each have our own cabin which contains a bunk, desk, wardrobe and sink. The bathrooms are shared between two but usually this is not a problem as we are all on different shift patterns. If is is really stormy weather showering can sometimes be a challenge so they provide us with handy rails to cling to. Everyday there is a choice of full English breakfast, toast and cereal and some fruit and we are greeted by the ever cheerful chefs and steward (John, Wally and Jeff).


Return to cabin to find Jeff has made your bed and so you wish you had moved your dirty laundry from the middle of the floor.


Shift work begins.
Not everybody is lucky enough to have a day shift. At present we are working 4 hour shift patterns that include 8-12, 12-4 and 4-8. These are worked both morning and evening so they make up 8 hours of our day.  When on shift we are responsible for ensuring all sampling and measurements are made from the CTD casts (the big instrument we put into the water upto 9 times a day and which collects water from different depths and measure temperature and salinity of the water down to the sea floor).


Coffee break taken on the afterdeck if the weather is good enough.
Unfortunately, on this cruise so far we have had a fare few bad weather days so have only managed to get outside a couple of times.

11:20 -12:30

This seems very early but I can tell you, you work up an apatite. It is also this early so those people who are about to start the 12 O’clock shift, who have just woken up can get some food.  Lunch food normally includes a cold buffet, hot food and soup.


Shift Ends
We make sure that the next shift is up to date with what plan of action and what has happened in the past 8 hours when they have been off duty. Although we are officially off duty now we use the next couple of hours to catch up on any personal work which we might have not had time to complete when on shift.


Boat Drill
These happen periodically during the cruise. We all have to grab our life jackets and some warm clothing from our cabins and muster in the main hanger on the back deck of the ship. Once a role call has been take, the crew lead us to the lifeboat deck where we assemble by our assigned lifeboats. This is where it becomes a little confusing if people cannot remember which side of the ship is port (left) or starboard (right). Luckily on this occasion  we do not have to practise getting in the lifeboat or trying on the attractive emersion suites (needed if we would ever have to abandon ship).


Trip to the bridge to look for whales or dolphins.
The bridge officers work a similar four hour shift pattern between three of them (Richard, James, Liam). I asked if I could steer the ship and I was allowed to change course by one degree. This wasn’t as much fun as I anticipated since the actual size of the wheel/dial they use to steer is only around 5 cm wide with small finger sized indents for easy turning. There are lots of pairs of binocular to use which are very useful for spotting both wildlife and scientific instruments which need to be recovered.


Go the gym
The gym on board contains a rowing machine, bike and cross-trainer. These can be a little bit difficult to use at first if you are not used to the motion of the ship and impossible if the weather is really rough. There is also a multi gym weights machine which looks to be mostly for the crew to use.


Pretty much the same as lunch but with a better dessert (normally cake, ice cream or triffle with cheese to follow).


After far too much excitement on the bridge I retire to the DVD room to watch a film. We cook some popcorn which we bought before coming aboard.


Back to work


Go to the lounge to relax and socialise with all the new friends we have made.





The mess (or dining room for non-sailors!)

Boat drill

A spot of rowing...

...and cross-training

Relaxing in the lounge

Watching for whales...

...or watching the world go by

Time for a film

Yes, the ship's steering wheel really is this tiny!

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