13 February, 2004

It was one of those crazy days when you are not sure which end is up. The ice has been a nemesis for the entire cruise, moving from one area to another. Keeping up with open water has been a full time job and with cloudy conditions most of the time the satellite images of the ice cover have been obscured by clouds. We did multibeam survey for most of the morning until about 8:00 AM when it was decided that the open water warranted a try at doing seismic in the area.

We began marine mammal observations as the marine techs began preparing the gun array for deployment. It would take about a half hour to get the guns in the water. A sonobuoy was launched to listen for whale sounds. With everything in the water and no mammals in the area, we were able to begin firing the guns and securing the streamer for a day of seismic work.

People were on the back deck getting the seismic equipment in the water. There were observers on the bridge checking for mammals. In the dry lab they were listening for whales on the sonobuoy. Watch recording was still going on and the next watch shift was just wandering in to see what was up for the day.

At the same time Marcy Davis and I were in the MPC office trying how to use the Iridium Phone. After a few frantic attempts to locate Ashley Lowe for guidance, I tracked down Dean Klein in the IT office and he gave me the country codes to use. Captain Mike Watson arrived in the just 2 minutes to spare and helped make our connection to the states to conduct an online conference with students listening on the Internet and live at Grant School in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.

The entire school was on hand to listen and ask questions. Sam Mucosa was also available so the four of us answered questions for over an hour. April Metz coordinated the conference from Rice University for the TEA Website. She conveyed questions sent in by email from students parcticipating in the conference online. Mr. Whitmore, Principal at Grant School handed helping students ask questions directly to us over the phone.

The questions ranged from, "what do you eat on the ship?" which was handled masterfully by Captain Mike, to a question on geomagnetism that was answered by Sam. The students from the school and the Internet were very well prepared and asked excellent questions. Near the end of the hour, Ashley Lowe was able to join us after finishing up on the back deck with deploying the guns. She answered the last question of the conference.

It was a wonderful opportunity for me to work with the Mike and the scientists. They did a fabulous job of answering the student's questions and were very aware of how to make there answers real and meaningful for the students. Marcy has a flare for answering questions from the elementary students. I fell very fortunate to work with all of the people on this cruise. They have gone out of their way to help keep me up to date on everything that goes on in the science and in ship operations. They have made me feel a part of the cruise for the first day. They are a fantastic group of people to work with.

Chief Mate Scott Dunaway pilots the ship.

Dressed and ready to help with the seismics.

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