Spring 2011

Our intern, Ali - an undergraduate student from Middlebury College, details her experiences from her summer with the HOT program.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From Human Radio to Human on the Radio, almost

I have witnessed a great scientific discovery today.  At the end of every CTD cast on this cruise when the rosette is brought back on deck, the wire always contains between 5 and 10 turns in the wire which developed during the cast. It is quite a pain for Dave who has to disconnect the wire, untwist it and reconnect it every time. What was confirmed today was that the turns develop as a result of the firing of the bottles, either from the uneven weight distribution of closed bottles or from the resistance of the lanyards attaching open bottles.  The solution: no more water sampling. Everyone alright with that?
The green revolution continued today with apples galore. In addition to the occasional apple throughout the day, 2200 was the hour of the apple. At this time I went forward to collect a surface salinity sample and while returning I collected 3 Granny Smiths, as requested. The lab was a calm haven of crunch as Dave, Craig and I simultaneously put away our respective apples.  The doctor will most definitely be kept away today.

My water sample filling skills continue to improve. As do my cap tightening, o-ring checking and spout locking routines.  Cocking the top of the bottles has always been my favorite – the methodical stretching of the lanyard from Niskin bottle to hook appeals to my simplicity – and I have become almost robotic in this task. The struggle between the lanyards and myself over cocking the bottoms of the bottles has tamed and the victories are more often in my favor.  My repertoire is even expanding: I touched the wire today! Better wire handling techniques, I hope, will come in time.

My computational skills, on the other hand, seem to need polishing. The single digit integers are the tough ones, I find. Yesterday I graduated from bottle labeling assistant, to bottle label extraordinaire flying solo on the labeling of bottles for a whole cast, never mind that Craig only gave me a baby cast of 7 bottles.  This transition may have come too soon, for today I royally confused both myself and Dave while counting between numbers 1 and 5.  My computation skills struck again while entering meteorological observations into Matlab, the difference between 0400 and 0800 seem to be beyond me. 

Unfortunately, these errors cost me the precious opportunity to use the radio.  There were rumors that I would be communicating to the winch operator the depths at which to stop the 2100 cast for bottle firing. Communicating depths, however, requires a firm grasp on the numbers 1 through 1020, and Craig made the judgment that I was not quite ready. Next time, maybe, he says. In the meantime, I will be returning to kindergartner for some private tutoring and practicing my radio voice. 

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