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17 May, 2003

I began the day browsing the oceanographic journals in the Scripps library, making copies of some relevant arcticles that should help my understanding of the research that we'll be conducting this summer. I completed the morning learning more from the technicians about the various kinds of equipment that we'll be using during the cruise.

In the afternoon, Jim let me tag along and attend a committee meeting that discussed many fascinating aspects of oceanographic science. Regulations, principal investigator responsibilities, coordination of all science activities, and safety protocols all were part of this discussion. Parcticularly interesting to me were some of the changes in ports of call and cruise routes, and the new security precautions that are now being taken due to today's political climate- and even piracy- in some parts of the world.

Probably the only kind of terrorism that I'll have to be concerned about will involve bumping into a polar bear unexpectedly while on deck (sometimes it's possible for the bears to board the ship depending on the ice conditions) or out on the ice.

Finally, we ended the day by attending a barbecue down at the Scripps docks where I was treated to a special tour of three of the Institute's research vessels that were in port.

Unique is the R/V FLIP, a 355 foot "Floating Instrument Platform" that is towed out to sea and then rotated 90 degrees by flooding its ballast tanks to stand vertical in the sea. With 300 feet of the vessel below the surface, FLIP makes for an extremely stable platform from which a variety of research projects can be conducted. The unusual arrangement for everything from toilets to galleys to stairways and so on that have to rotate as well must have been an enjoyable engineering project for someone that must have appreciated the artwork of Escher.

Double sinks on the FLIP.

Looking down the length (about 300 feet) of the FLIP.

The R/V Roger Revelle.

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