My New Favorite Drug – and Science Time!

Alec and Tom deploy the first CTD

Promethazine – hands down. First dose yesterday hadn’t done a damned thing for me, so I was kind of despairing, just trying to hold it together for another day until we got through the rest of the Drake. But about 4:00 this morning I told Barry, the Electronics Tech with whom I’m sharing the midnight-to-noon shift, that I needed to go lie down and whimper in my cabin for a bit. Took another half-tab of Promethazine before closing my eyes, and slept for about an hour.

Got up, checked back in, fixed a printer problem and chatted up Kim – turns out she’s spent even more time in Liberia than I have. Started wondering what Mike was going to prep for breakfast and…. wait a minute. Wasn’t I feeling like death warmed over on soggy toast an hour ago? And now – now I was feeling…just…human. Normal. Cheerful even. Sure, we were still bouncing around like anything, but the motion, the sway, it was just “out there”, and couldn’t touch me. This was freakin’ great!

Did another half tab around six hours later, and snarfed down lunch like I hadn’t eaten in two days. Which, really, I hadn’t. It’s now four hours until my next shift, and I really ought to be sleeping, but I’m having a hard time not reveling in the fact that don’t feel like a sack of, well, unpleasant stuff. (It could also be the Promethazine – it’s supposed to make you sleepy, but perhaps it’s just making me buzzy and wired).

Anyhow – aside from the general benefits of not feeling like I want to roll over and die, the other awesome thing about being on my feet again is that (drum roll, please), we’re at 60 degrees south, 63 west latitude and drifting at Station W00-001. It’s time to Do Science.

I promise to spend a bunch more time on explaining the various bits of science that are going on around the ship, but there are probably a dozen different project the folks here are working on. Everything from counting krill to mapping the ocean bottom and analyzing seasonal changes in the location of the circumpolar convergence zone. Tonight, at Station 1, we’re launching our first CTD probe – conductivity, temperature and depth. Actually, they measure a hell of a lot more than that, but I think “CTD” is a historical term, and it rolls off the tongue more trippingly than a “CTDTSFBLfDVWS” probe would.

The probe itself is a big set of sample bottles wrapped around an instrument cluster that gets lowered to the sea floor by a crane arm extends out the side of the ship. Once they start bringing it up, they trip switches on the bottles to close them up and keep samples of the water at whatever two dozen depths are of interest to the team.

We’re going to be doing a hell of a lot more CTDs in the coming month, probably two or three every day. Add to that the XBTs (expendable bathymetric probes) and drifters we’re launching every couple of hours, there’s a lot of science going on in the water, even before we see any ice. And it feels sooo good to be back.

Cliff fires off an XBT on the way south

3 responses to “My New Favorite Drug – and Science Time!

  1. I just read your most recent post about hitting the ice edge, and started feeling jealous and nostalgic. But then I read this post and the jealousy level dropped pretty significantly. Glad you made it through the Drake, and survived what I’m constantly told is the roughest water passage in the world!


  2. Pingback: Southbound Again | David Pablo Cohn·

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