Collaborative Research

In the Bowels of the Kilo Moana
by -- February 4th, 2013

Hey! It’s Molly reporting for the last time from the middle of the Pacific! We have been at sea for 3 weeks and we only have one week left to go! I thought that there wouldn’t be anything to write about, but I was totally wrong. I used to think that I had explored every area of the ship after being aboard for so long. I was wrong. Jennifer and I went on an adventure a few days ago to explore the bowels of the Kilo Moana. We had made friends with a few of the engineers and we asked for a tour of the engine rooms. Notice that I said rooms. Yes, this ship is so large that there are 14 compartments that house the necessary machinery needed to keep us alive out here in the middle of nowhere. Each compartment is accessed in a different way, so our guides led us all over the ship, through narrow passageways and rusty ladders.

One of the oilers, Darrell took us on the first part of the tour. We went to see the engine room and it was loud but bearable. It housed a spinning shaft that continued into shaft alley. Even though shaft alley was the compartment right next door, we had to access it a totally different way. Shaft alley was the scariest room. All that was in there was a giant spinning shaft that connects to the propeller right beyond the ship hull. Darrell told us that if this room sprung a leak, we wouldn’t be able to escape the compartment before it would be completely flooded. Jennifer and I quickly exited that room!

Ken took us on the next part of the tour. He actually had work to do, but he let us come along and watch. He taught us about how the ship makes its own freshwater by removing the salt from the seawater. Every night, Ken tests the water to make sure it is drinkable. He does a few tests with some equipment and then he does a taste test! The water testing area takes place in the generator room. There are two generator rooms with two generators in each, however, the ship only needs to use 3 generators at a time. These rooms are incredibly loud. We had to use earplugs so that our hearing wouldn’t be damaged!

We couldn’t get to all the compartments because it was getting late and the waves were getting rougher. We will have to continue the tour on another day.



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