28 October, 1995

October 28,1995

Our cruise officially began at 12:00 midnight local time today as we departed the fueling station at Copa Negra, Chile. We took on 500,000 gallons of fuel for the trip. The ship will use on average 10,000 gallons a day during our research.

The Palmer is divided into levels. The main deck level is the location of the science and computer labs and the mess hall. Meals are served four times a day because sailors and scientists are on duty 24 hours a day. The next level up is the rooms for science staff. Crew rooms are on the next two levels.

There is always some sort of noise on the ship. The engines are responsible for a regular drone. In addition, there are the sounds of computers, printers and plotters, and the special equipments and tools used by the scientists and crew.

Prior to our departure, all hands had to learn emergency drills. All hands must report to the main conference room or the helo deck for all alarms. We must bring life gear, life jackets and emersion suits. Everyone on the ship must learn how to properly use all safety equipment. In addition, we were drilled in the proper procedure for entering the life boats.

We are exiting the Straights of Magellan and heading south toward the Drake Passage. The weather has been kind to us and the seas have been very smooth. The temperature is about 40 degrees. We are not quite sure what the Passage holds in store for us, but it is one of the worst areas in the world for high seas.

At this time in the cruise, there is very little time for personal writing. Everyone is busy testing and checking equipment, computers and software. You have to be ready to do anything from stowing large gear to doing fine work like soldering electrical equipment.

No one has gotten sick yet. No one is really talking about the Drake Passage, but it is in the back of everyone's mind. We will be deploying our first piece of science equipments tomorrow at 4:00 am. the equipment is called a sonar buoy, and will relay information back to researchers using a radio on the device.

It will take me some time to become oriented to all the activity and people. I am expecting a very interesting trip.

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