Saturday, December 24, 2016

What a busy day I had

24 December

Today was a very busy day for me. I am happy to report I actually worked on a lot of science project for my own project, rather than helping everyone else. Actually  that is not true, I managed to help quite a lot of other people in the process, but I tried to focus on my own stuff.
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We finally got our temporary inline water supply line ready and split up between all the science groups. Hooray to me explaining to the crew what we need and big thanks to the crew for making it happen. And finally we cleaned up the Aqualine Ferrybox instruments enough to connect it back to the inline water. It took us a few hours to put the instruments back together and figure out the sharing of the water between several instruments from other projects that are now connected to the system. I can't call it a complete success as we haven't read the data off it yet, but we did successfully logged into the system.
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Huge thanks to Anastasia and Franzisca, two students who put enormous amount of work trying to figure out this instrument during Leg0 from Bremerhaven to Cape Town. Unfortunately the data this instrument collected before was awful - rusty pipes on the ship made it impossible to measure anything meaningful. Nastya and Franzi took the instrument apart to clean the parts and the ship's crew build a completely new temporary inline water system for us to use - a new stainless steel pump for water intake and a temporary PVC hose supplying water from the bottom of the ship to our instruments in the lab. The system looks pathetic, we basically have a hose running through a corridor, but it works. Also, the intake location is at 4.5 m under water during calm seas, so during the 6-8m (and higher) swell it gets air bubbles and the pump dries out. We figured out a system of scheduled "shifts" to look after the pump to make sure we don't dry it and break this delicate system altogether.
I want to give big thanks to the crew who helped us build this system. It is by far not ideal, but it was the best solution we could come up with given the circumstances. We have quite a few instruments hooked up to it now, the Aqualine Ferrybox, the one my project is the most concerned with was the last one to come live.
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I am also happy to report that the atmospheric group (my Swiss colleagues) Iris and Pascal successfully launched a radiosonde without my help. This is a big relief for me, as they had some language/communication issues with the bridge during leg0. I basically took over their communication to the bridge for the first couple of days and ensured that the bridge is ok with us performing the launches periodically. As we are not planning to do a UTC-oriented launches, but rather event-driven launches we needed the bridge to be ok with us launching balloons without an advanced warning. We see interesting weather - we launch a radiosonde. I am happy to say they do not need me anymore, yahoo!
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I have also spent quite a lot of time talking to the chief engineer coming up with a creative solution for the pump needed for another three projects on board.
I also spent quite a lot of time translating for another group, who ran out of the cooling fluid in their compressor. The crew hopefully will be able to fix that problem during the stop at Marion islands.
I have noticed that some of my colleagues are starting to take my volunteer help for granted. And I have to say I don't appreciate being taken for granted especially for all this extra work I have been doing for other people. Need to think about how to approach this yet. I am happy to help when I do have time, but I have to work on my own project. And it would be nice to get an acknowledgement for going out of my way and helping all this people. Maybe I should suggest they all make a coauthor on their publications :)
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I wanted to write more about non-science things, but this post it getting too long as it is. Happy Christmas Eve to all my readers all over the world. I do hope I will get a little break tomorrw to celebrate and relax. But then again, I have been hoping for that since Cape Town :).
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UPDATE:
I wrote the original draft of this post last night and I am happy to report that my colleague Jenny made a lot of progress today reading the data off the Aqualine Ferrybox. It looks fairly reasonable, we are yet to do tests on how stable it is. Kudos to Jenny!

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