Friday, March 11, 2016

Ship life

Since we can’t do science today, I thought I’d tell you a bit about life on the LMG. We live and work on the research vessel. I’ve told you a bit about our lab work. What about our living environment? There are about 20 staterooms on the vessel, each that have two bunk beds. (A stateroom is just the marine term for a dorm room, really.) Because we’re not very crowded, each of us has our own room. Here’s a photo of mine:

We have plenty of cupboard space for our clothes and gear, and a little cubby and light next to our bed for reading. I sleep on the top bunk so that I can look out of the porthole. On top of the cupboard you see the reflection from the life preserver and emersion suit if we have to abandon ship. The curtains on the bunks let you shut out light if you have a roommate who is still awake.

Each stateroom also has a bathroom. It’s not fancy, but it works!

The toilets are a bit unique. They flush by water pressure created by gravity. Instead of a normal flusher like you have on your toilet at home, we have a handle that opens the pipe. That drops a bunch of water from above to flush out anything in the toilet. It works… most of the time! If anyone doesn’t close their handle all the way, it ruins the water pressure and everyone has a problem flushing.

Because I’m the Chief Scientist on this cruise, I have a special stateroom that includes an office. You can see me drying my gloves over the heater to the right. There’s a pillow on the couch, because that’s where I recline when the seas are rough. All of the furniture is bolted to the floor or walls, except the two office chairs, and all of the doors and drawers have latches on them to prevent things from sliding around when the boat rolls and pitches on the waves. When we were crossing the Drake Passage, Uffe was sitting in the chair under the porthole and flew right out of it! He ended up sitting on the floor, without spilling a single drop of his cup of tea.

We all eat downstairs in the galley. Everything is bolted to the floor or table, otherwise we’d have a big mess! Condiments are all in the trays, and the AB’s just made plexiglass mug holders (the clear boxes with wooden frames) to hold our drinks. The screen on the far left tells us our speed, position and heading, wind speed and weather information, and next destination.

There are also places to recreate on the boat. The lounge is the main place for that. There’s a bunch of comfy sofas, a big TV for watching movies, a table where we play board games, and bookshelves with lots to read. (Those are Ethernet cables hanging down, so that we can plug in our laptops.)

There’s also a sauna (but it’s not very nice, and so far nobody has bothered to turn it on), and a gym with a few pieces of exercise equipment. My favorite recreational activity is the giant crossword puzzles that our Electronics Technician, Branson, puts up on the wall. He puts up the NY Times Sunday puzzles, which are the hardest, and we all work on them together. Pretty much everyone who walks by will stop to try at least one clue, so we finish them in a day or two. (And if you zoom in on the photo enough, you see that it actually says “Where is our next puzzle?” because Branson hasn’t changed it since yesterday. Someone is antsy for a new puzzle to work on!)

Tomorrow we’ll wake up at our southern-most sampling site for this year, Cape Evensen. Hopefully there’s less snow on the ground there!