Cruise lessons! – Sara Afshar

“It doesn’t always go as planned”. This is what I have learned in the two cruises I’ve been on. Chief scientist gets his/her team together and tells them what will be going to be done during their “watch”. You write the schedule on the board and cross off the “events” that are done and try to write the log…but then there is this period of time that some events stay on the board for hours and hours without being crossed off.

Today we were expecting to get two 20-m (60 feet) long piston cores, cut them in shorter sections and store them before the night watch begins. Deploying took a little more than what we were expecting but things started going poorly after the core was brought aboard the ship (i.e., brought up and positioned vertically). First, the “restech” and the coring crew had to come up with a way to put the core in horizontal position to extrude the “core liner” out of the “core barrel”. Then the coring crew realized that “the piston” had been “coldwelded” to the “piston coupler” which basically means two pieces of metal got stuck to each other due to pressure. So extrusion and cutting the core liner in 1.5-m sections (not on deck but while it was hanging horizontally off the side of the ship) took much longer than usual. Deploying and recover took a total of 11 hours!! We didn’t have time to deploy the next piston core and had to start clearing and rinsing off the deck for the night watch.

“Always look around and make sure what’s happening around you”. This cruise is really unique in terms of different activities and equipments that are being used and a very important thing that I have learned is that you have to make sure your work does not affect other teams’ deployments or data collection. Today, I was about to rinse the mud that had fallen out of the core liner off the side of the ship without paying attention to what was going on 10m (30feet) away from me but luckily it was caught by one of the coring crew. “Water filtering” was occurring at the same time on the “starboard” and the biologists certainly did not want mud to be pumped into their instrument.

It was still a great day with an awesome weather and calm seas!

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