Thursday, August 29, 2013

At sea at last!

It's been a long time planning and thanks to the efforts of a _lot_ of people we're on our way.  We got back to the fueling dock late yesterday afternoon, topped off and pulled away shortly before 11 pm.  It was overcast and sprinkling, and as we slid away from the sounds and sights of Suva it was like pushing into a dark curtain, making our way south and then east into the black and welcoming sea.  All were up early today and to the job of setting up their equipment, and talking over the flow of core processing that will consume our time and energy once we get started.  One by one the underway instruments were turned on to record swath bathymetry, sub-bottom profiles, near-surface Doppler current measurements, radar detection of surface wave fields, and others I may not yet be aware of.  A mid-day fire drill got everyone on deck, and to the delight of all the day had turned bright and sunny.  Because of our eastward progress towards Pago Pago we're crossing time zones as well as the International Date Line.  Accordingly the ship's clocks get turned ahead 1 hour tonight, and we all enjoy two back-to-back August 30ths tomorrow + the next day.  On that 2nd one we have a short 'touch+go' docking to pick up equipment; it’s unlikely that anyone will go ashore.  Then back out to sea and west to rendezvous with the rest of the science party outside the harbor of Alotau, Papua New Guinea. We'll be ready.  ---- Greg Mountain