Posted by: adorsk | July 8, 2007

Cartography & Waterworks

Right now it’s a sunny Sunday evening and there are roughly 900 m of water below the ship.


Science Update

This week has been fairly quiet, but there were a few moments of drama. Remember how we got another magnetometer cable from the coast guard? Well, it turned out to be a very lucky drop-off. Early in the week our backup magnetometer started to spit out bad data. R. & A. had to re-deploy our original magnetometer with the new cable. It just goes to show that you can never have enough backups at sea.

SeaBeam, our sonar mapping system, went down briefly yesterday. We’re not sure why…something to do with the software it runs. Fortunately we were able to get it back up and running. Otherwise, the data have been coming ing steadily and the ship keeps chugging along at 10 knots.

We have finished our overall reconnaisance of the ridge area and now we’re beginning to make a detailed survey of the ridge axis. We call this ‘mowing the lawn’ because we make adjacent back-and-forth swaths. This should occupy us for the rest of the cruise.

I find the survey especially gratifying because we can immediately see what we’ve discovered. one minute a map shows a blank white square: mystery. Then we pass over and color it in with beautiful contours: knowledge. Kind of a cartographic rush.

Fourth of July

We didn’t have any fireworks for the 4th of July, but we did have plenty of waves. So I made some ‘waterworks’ instead:

waterworks1 waterworks2 waterworks3waterworks4

Leisure Time

A few weeks ago my Mom asked me what people do for fun on the ship. Well, after taking tea and crumpets on the Lexington deck we usually enjoy a rousing game of shuffleboard, or sunbathe beside the pool. At night many people go down to the casino, while others of us watch the evening’s show in the ballroom. Last night’s magic show was OK, but I preferred the Chinese acrobats who performed on Wednesday. I tell you, life is hard at sea.

Of course I’m just kidding around. But things are still pretty good. A lot of people read, or watch DVDs in the Knorr‘s movie lounge. Sometimes people go up to the bridge to hang out. There’s also the ship’s gym, replete with weights and exercise machines. Every now and then I’ll walk into the ship’s library and find a game of Texas hold ’em going. In warmer locales, people will sit outside, even do a little fishing (hear that, Ben?).

There are a few things I like to do. In the mornings before I start work I like to study Chinese, or write, or play around with photoshop. In the evening I’ll usually go up to the bridge to watch the waves, and then read in the library. I think the daily routine of ship life provides a good structure for learning new things.

Steaming On

That’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll be coming into Reykjavik next week on the 15th. Thanks for reading.

Miscellaneous Pictures

Here is a mash-up of the library, one of my favorite places on the ship.


Close-up of a rust pattern


The ship’s day-shapes. These indicate to other ships what our status is (e.g. ‘towing’, ‘stopped’, ‘underway’).

abstract_circle abstract_diamond scintillating_circle

And excuse me while I open up a can of…




  1. Haha–I heard. Have you fished? Any good catches? Very cool to see the “waterworks”–I didn’t catch any fireworks last week as we had Marc’s bachelor party at Frank’s camp in the rain.

    Is that a can of Goo Off?

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