Last weekend, we were in Newport, Oregon getting our first peak at our home for the next month: the research vessel, Sikuliaq. But we weren’t there just to tour our room and taste-test the food aboard (though that was a delicious side perk). We were there to document the team loading up 30,000 pounds of science gear in anticipation of our upcoming expedition.
Most of the gear arrived in 3 standard containers, lifted onboard by the ship’s crane and positioned by strong guys holding guiding lines. Once the containers were onboard, Jim (the lead scientist) and Alex (the technician) started organizing gear. They added an additional anemometer to the tower to collect really precise wind speed measurements from the ship.
They also offloaded 20 SWIFT buoys, which are relatively small autonomous devices built to collect data from the ocean’s surface (like ocean temperature, swell height, wind speed, underwater noise, currents, turbulence, etc.). Once in the Arctic, they will huck these buoys off the side of the ship, watch as they scatter, and then round them up again like a gaggle of disobedient ducklings.
They all have GPS chips (so we can find them again) and because technology is cool, you will be able to see them too! They will show up as little grey circles on the ship tracker map whenever they are in the water. Live science is awesome.
The ship is on its way to Nome now, where we will convene on Tuesday with the whole crew. Weather permitting, we will leave the dock Thursday morning, and not touch land again for 26 days.