Collaborative Research

Concluding Our Journey Within
by -- February 4th, 2013

Hello, it’s Jennifer again, with my last post while aboard the Kilo Moana. With less than a week left at sea, our journey is coming to an end. Yesterday, I began my third temperature shift experiment since we returned to a more mild temperature and the seas have calmed. Tomorrow I’ll start a fourth t-shift experiment. With two experiments to work on simultaneously, the last few days will be busy with sampling and filtering and fluorometer readings and data analysis. With the completion of all four experiments, I am excited to compare all of my data and begin to make some conclusions! We’ve had to change our course back to Hawaii slightly from the original plan. There is Navy missile testing nearby which we are now steering clear of to keep a safe distance away.

Today we saw the first sign of civilization since we left port. A big container ship passed by this morning right after sunrise. It wasn’t too far off, but it still quickly disappeared beyond the horizon.

After trivia tonight, Molly and I concluded our journeys within the depths of the Kilo Moana. We reached our goal of visiting all 14 engine compartments. One of the engineers, Darrell, first brought us to the storage/fireman room which is right below the iMet lab where we take temperature readings with our iPads. We saw where all of the fire equipment, as well as other miscellaneous gear, is stored. It’s a lot of fun to go into all of the “Restricted Areas” where we always see the crew disappearing. Next, we visited the sewage room. Molly wanted to climb on top of the sewage tank for a photo op, but Darrell said it was covered in raw sewage; Molly quickly changed her mind. There’s also a manhole at the top of the tank which someone must unfortunately enter if anything but processed human waste makes it into the tank. Darrell has personally experienced that kind of adventure in the past.

Next, we went on to the most difficult compartment to get to – the bow thruster room. This room is located below the water level at the very front of the ship. The bow thruster helps to stabilize the ship during rough weather or during science procedures, such as our CTD casts. To get to the bow thruster room, we had to go down several vertical ladders from narrow entrance points and hatches in the floor. All of the compartments involve labyrinths of passages, but the route to the bow thruster room was the most involved.

the bow thruster

Finally, we voyaged to the steering room. The entrance is a hatch from the back deck. A ladder leads down into the room where the main point of interest is a small wooden ship’s wheel in the center. If the bridge were to lose control of piloting the ship, this steering room would become the pilot, using the wheel and hydraulics to keep the ship on course. Venturing deep within the ship and seeing all of the intricate workings really brings the ship to life!



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