7 June, 1998
=46IRE IN MAIN CONTROL, ALL HANDS TO GENERAL QUARTERS! This announcement came across the loudspeaker (1MC) at 6:10 AM this morning. We had practiced this our first morning aboard ship and we wasted no time heading for the hangar which was the designated scientist muster area.
A condition called "zebra" needs to be set throughout the ship during general quarters. This means that all hatches and doors, normally open underway (condition yoke), are closed and specific people are responsible to take care of each hatch and door. So during GQ, while people are trying to get to their assigned stations, other people are trying to get hatches and passages closed off. This normally goes like clockwork but throw a few civilians into the mix and it gets really interesting very quickly. Trying to remember which stairway goes how many decks up or down, whether you are moving fore or aft, which passageway gets you from port to starboard and vice-versa, alarms going off, and the unmistakable smell of smoke in the passages makes the real thing ever so different from a drill.
All in all the "beakers" (scientists) did pretty well at getting to where we needed to go in good time. Most went out to the main deck and then up to the hangar where Lisa was counting heads in order to give the bridge the all present notification. Once there we stayed out of the way as people came rushing through carrying fire extinguishers and self contained breathing gear. Word soon came our way that a transformer in the main propulsion switchboard had burned up and taken a bit of other wiring with it. Repairs would take several hours and the starboard side shaft could not be turned until repairs were made.=20
The good news is that no one was injured, the spaces that had been smoke filled were being ventilated, the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, and the temperature was almost 45</bigger></bigger></fontfamily><bigger><bigger><fontfamily>Symbol</= param>=83</fontfamily><fontfamily>Times_New_Roman
=46. Though the day had started out a bit rough it was shaping up to be another banner day in the arctic.
Holiday routine is in effect all day Sunday aboard most military vessels. If you don't have the watch or if you don't have any equipment that is in need of immediate repair, you can sleep, watch movies, or as some of the crew saw fit, relax on the flight deck in lawn chairs and soak up sun. The men and women on this vessel work very hard 5.5 days per week when all goes well. Today, most the engineers would be busy working on the damaged switchboard and holiday routine would have to wait until next week.
I finally mastered how to send attachments using the Netscape E-mail system so I was able to get photos and journals sent off to N.S.F. and the TEA (Teachers Experiencing the Arctic) web page (../). This has been no small accomplishment due to the challenging E-mail systems currently being used by the Polar Sea. Day to day hi, how are you messages go out on a system that is much easier to use than the one I have been working on this week. Thanks to a very proficient 1st class ET (electronics technician) I was able to be walked through the bugs and get the whole system figured out.
We rounded Point Lisburne this afternoon and found ourselves in flat, non-ridged, first year ice that the ship was able to move through at a steady rate of 5 knots/hr. Surface ponds are plentiful and there have been hundreds of thick-billed Murres flying around the ship. They are a sea bird with amazing underwater abilities and are almost penguin like in the way they hop up on the ice and waddle around. They are black with a white belly and a very upright stance when out of the water. The coast line is beautiful along here as the old and weathered DeLong mountains taper down to the coastal plain and define the northwestern most reaches of Alaska. We will soon be within helo range of Barrow and should be at our next science station by morning.
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