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Click below to go to the Cruise Logs - (photo credit: Lophelia Coral - Open-File Report 2008-1148 & OCS Study MMS 2008-015)


Cruise Log: 10/05/2008    Sea State: Starting at 3-4', Currently 7-8' and Rolling

Departing for the High Seas

Amanda W.J. Demopoulos

Departing Pascagoula, MS. (photo by M. Gray) - click to enlarge
Departing Pascagoula, MS. (photo by M. Gray) - click to enlarge
Finally, after securing the gear and completing all the safety checks, we were cleared to leave port. All of the ship's crew were involved in the launch; each person was assigned a specific job, including untying the lines holding the ship to the dock and driving the ship toward our first station. Once leaving the port, we had a safety briefing with the Operations Officer. She informed us about appropriate attire for the cruise, including wearing close-toed shoes and not leaving open containers of liquid on tables because they can spill as the ship rocks and rolls. During this briefing, the ship's motion started off as a gentle rock, back and forth, and as the meeting progressed, the rocking motion turned to more of a large roll. Those of us sitting in chairs with wheels started to move across the room, knocking into one another, reminiscent of bumper cars. The Officer announced that sometime today we would be having two safety drills: a fire drill and an abandon ship drill. The ship will signal by blowing its horn for 10 seconds for the fire alarm and 7 short blasts followed by one long blast for abandon ship. There were other safety details regarding deploying and recovering gear, including wearing hard hats and life jackets while on deck for all gear operations. She finished the meeting by telling us that we should use common sense and try to stay safe.

Furu Mienis (NIOZ), Andrea Quattrini (UNCW), and Amanda Demopoulos (USGS) successfully completed the abandon ship drill, including wearing the survival suit.  (photo by M. Ovard) - click to enlarge
Furu Mienis (NIOZ), Andrea Quattrini (UNCW), and Amanda Demopoulos (USGS) successfully completed the abandon ship drill, including wearing the survival suit (photo by M. Ovard). - click to enlarge
After the safety meeting, Chief Scientist Steve Ross had all of the scientists gather in the dry lab (computer room) for a science meeting. He briefly went over the primary science plan, clarified who would be responsible for each of the tasks, and what gear would be used to accomplish those goals. He then went into more detail about our operations over the next two days and mentioned that as prepared as we are, we should still be flexible if plans change due to weather or other issues.

As we prepared for the evening's sampling objectives, we heard over the intercom the announcement of the fire drill and then the ship blasted its horn for 10 seconds, signifying that there was a fire. We stopped what we were doing and headed for the fan tail to muster. The Chief Scientist took roll and acknowledged that we all made it to safety. Shortly following the fire drill, the voice over the intercom announced that we would be having an abandon ship drill, then the horn blasted again. The abandon ship drill was more complicated than the fire drill because we needed to find our life jackets and put on our safety suits (red gumbee-like wetsuits). The safety suits are needed to protect our bodies from the cold and exposure. After the officers confirmed that we can put these suits on (very challenging), then the drill was over and we went back to doing science.

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