Hg in the sea is officially at sea! The R/V Thompson left port from Manta, Ecuador at 0900 Friday and is heading south towards our first station. We will spend approximately three days steaming to station 1, but will stop a few times along the way to do some practice runs with our sampling equipment and labs. The first day at sea always starts with a safety meeting that involves the captain and first mate. We learn how the crew runs the ship, how to work safely on deck, and what to do in case of an emergency. The meeting is followed up with a fire drill where we muster in the main lab with immersion suits and life vests to practice for a situation that may involve abandoning ship. Fires at sea are not all that uncommon, especially on a research vessel filled with scientific laboratories.
Friday morning we had a nice send-off by a pod of 5 dolphins that swam out with the ship. Here you can see one dolphin right below the bow, I will post a video sometime in December once I’m back on land with better internet!
Every port has a pilot which is an officer that boards the ship to guide visiting captains in and out of port. Pilots know the currents and bottom topography of their territory to safely move through. Above, we have just cleared port and the pilot is catching his ride back to land.
This is my home for the next two months! I am sharing a room with my friend Bettina who is a research technician at Old Dominion University. We share a head with two girls next door, it holds the tiniest shower I’ve ever seen in my life (picture the scene in Elf where Will Ferrel is squeezing into an elf shower).