The adventures of my last HOT cruise started on Sunday morning ferrying the much needed but heavily begrudged boxes of salinity samples from the storage room to the truck. Filled with the remaining water from last cruise’s CTD casts, the glass bottles were heavier than I remember. Other oddly shaped or overweight boxes followed into the back of the truck and we headed to Snug Harbor to load them from truck to ship. The most oddly shaped and overweight object of all awaited us there: the CTD. It’s taller than I am and big enough to have a party of three take tea in its round center. While waiting between cruises, the springs that close the Niskin bottles, in which the water samples are captured, are unstrung. Before loading the CTD on the ship, we had to reattach these springs so that the bottles are ready to capture water. Craig yanked on the spring while I attempted to attach each end of the spring to the bottle caps, 48 caps in all. This involved 50 “Got it”s plus two “Don’t got it”s accounting for my two failed attempts. We carried our boxes over the gangway to the back deck for the rest of the morning. Though lifting heavy objects is not my activity of choice on Sunday mornings, any opportunity to wear my hard hat outweighs the unhappy arms.
Everything was loaded on the ship by noon. Unfortunately this meant I had to take off my hard hat. Quickly, though, my spirits were brightened when Cammy handed me the Walkie-Talkie. It was time to test the CTD’s bottle firing, Fluorometer, and other instruments. The CTD closes bottles on command by releasing a hook, which had been holding the top and bottom bottle caps open. Reagan and I climbed onto the CTD in the wet lab to pull on each hook until Cammy fired the bottle from the computer. By Walkie-Talkie I told Cammy that the “Bottle fired, next.” We tested the Fluorometer, which measures chlorophyll by light emission and absorption, by sticking our finger in front of the sensor and tested the temperature, conductivity and oxygen sensors by pouring water through. By 1 pm, all the laptops were tied down to the counters and the instruments ready for deployment, so a lazy Sunday could begin.