August 12, 2009
I knew right away that I was not in my bed at home. There was gurgling- slouching sound that you do not hear at my house. Oh yes, I was on the R/V ENDEAVOR and would be leaving this morning to go out to sea for my research experience. I had placed my seasick patch behind my ear last night after arriving in Narragansett, RI to meet the ship. I had a lovely dinner with the lead scientists and their graduate students and had promptly fallen asleep in my berth on the ship.
The lead scientist is Dr. Brandon Dugan from Rice University and his graduate student, Jake Siegel. From the University of New Mexico are Dr. Mark Person and graduate student, Whitney Defoor. Dr. Daniel Lizarralde and Nat Miller are from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. There are other researchers on the ship from Scripts Oceanographic Institute, LGL Limited, marine mammal observers, and USGS as well as Captain Rhett McMunn and the crew.
Today I watched as we prepared to leave port. Equipment has been loaded and gear was stowed. The last crew and scientists boarded. As they began to remove the gangplank I realized that this was it - I was finally on my way. There was no turning back - unless I jumped ship.
First order of business: the all important safety talk. What to do if the ship has a fire, begins to sink, or "man overboard." The rest of the day was used in getting ready to deploy the sensors and air guns. Jake had the dubious honor of giving me a short lesson in geophysics before we went outside to watch as the personal from Scripts Institute of Oceanography deployed the sensors out a quarter of a mile. The two air guns were lowered into the water, both to trail behind us.
The project is to image below the sea floor using sound waves detected by receivers. These receivers are located on a streamer that is towed behind the ship. They are looking for fresh water in the sediment. There are 72 receivers spaced out within the quarter mile line.