Posted by: adorsk | August 16, 2007

August Tidings

We’re back at WHOI after 14 days off the coast of New Jersey. We got in around mid-day on Monday afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised to find a four-piece brass band awaiting us at the dock.

Science is Done. Long Live Science.

Transitions usually feel strange to me. The last science party just finished off-loading, and now they’re off the ship. -poof!- The people whom I lived with for the last two weeks are suddenly gone. I should know to expect this by now but it still always surprises me.

The last group was also a nice a bunch to sail with. Though we had a hard time getting mud cores, they kept it fun.

Now we’re getting ready for the next cruise, which will be off of Bermuda. I’m especially excited about this one. It’s the first time the Long Corer will be used. If you haven’t heard about the Long Corer yet, check out this page.

I think the Long Corer is beyond cool. It’s one of the things that made me want to work at WHOI. When I studied away with SEA, my class took a tour of the shop where the Long Corer was being built. Jim Broda, the long corer guru, told us all about the engineering behind it, from the invention of a special rope and winch to the mechanized pipe-assembler. At the time I wasn’t especially enthusiastic about engineering and science (a phase of ‘why do anything if can’t ever know anything for sure’), but seeing the corer got me all jazzed up again.

I think it’s great not only because of the engineering behind, but also because of how it will advance science. If it works as expected (crossing fingers), it will blow away previous coring studies. The typical gravity core is 3 to 7 meters long. Sometimes coring samples can get up to 20 or 25 meters. This system will get cores 45 meters long. That means that geologists can look further back into the past than ever before.

I feel very fortunate to see it in action. I even made a graphic for it: (mum’s the word if you know any lawyers at Tropicana)

longcorer_logo

Around Town

I’ve had a nice time in port. The Woods Hole community continues to impress me more and more. Today was diversity day. In the afternoon there was a block party outside the marine biological laboratory with a steel band. On Monday night I attend a local author’s reading at the town library. On Friday I’m planning to go hear a nobel-laureate biologist speak.

The town is especially beautiful right now. The sunsets create a kind of Amaretto haze in the afternoons. One of my shipmates described the color best, I think, as “dirty lemonade.” I’ve enjoyed reading Borges at the beach, or picking blackberries while idling along the bike path. Yes, Woods Hole is a fine place to be.

steel_band harbor haze library

A Brief Break

We’ll be shipping out on the 28th, so check back some time around then to find out how things go. Thanks for reading.

night light love herb self_portrait

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