November 8, 2007
Today was spent loading up the ship with all the scientific cargo. The ship is equipped with a good size crane that was used to load all the equipment off trucks onto the ship. I knew that a good deal of equipment was needed for the experiments, but I had no idea just how much. It seemed like truckload after truckload of enormous yellow plastic boxes and barrels kept coming to be loaded. We worked alongside several of the "Techs" (people hired by the Raytheon Polar Services Company to help support the science team) to get everything off the palettes and stowed on board.
I was impressed by incredibly complex logistics that need to be worked out to run a mission like this. All of the cargo had to be sent to Chile and stored, but once it's there, space has to be found on the ship to house everything. The science team is deploying many large instruments, each of which need to have a space on the ship. Not only that, but given that we will be at sea (and rough seas at that), everything will need to be tied down securely. Part of the morning was spent solving the space issue. It's a tricky geometry problem!
Today we were also issued a mountain of cold and severe weather gear. After feeling bad that I had packed way too much stuff, I feel even worse realizing that I needed to take very little clothing with me. We were issued a seriously warm parka, seriously warm overalls, foul weather gear (an extreme raincoat and pants), and boots. That's not to mention the pile of long underwear, fleece, gloves, and goggles. (There's some great stuff - too bad we don't get to keep any of it!).