Blog Post – Rachel Greene

Blog Post – Rachel Greene
We just took off from Punta Arenas less than 72 hours ago and are now embarking to Antarctica under Captain John and First-mate Rachel. This post is to give you an idea of what living on a research vessel is like. The ship we are on is called the Nathaniel B. Palmer, which was built in Louisiana and is now leased by the National Science Foundation. On the N.B. Palmer there are 4 main decks as well as a lookout bridge, an enclosed crows nest, a helipad, and many outdoor decks (if you dare). The first deck has wet, dry, & hydro labs as well as our computer station rooms. Although the boat does have some lab gear, for our specific purposes we need to bring our own equipment with us. The staterooms are mostly located on the second deck, which consists of two sturdy bunks, a small bathroom with shower, storage space, and a TV that shows everything from temperature to camera views of all the docks. Even though I was told the rooms are nice, I didn’t expect them to be as nice as they are. There is also a mess hall with specific meal hours that consist of a huge variety of delicious things! You can also grab a variety of food at anytime. Not only are there many options, but they taste amazing (everything from pizza to King Crab casserole!). Also on the ship there is a gym, sauna, and TV room with a donation-library. Safety is taken very seriously on board but for the most part the cruise is very relaxed. There are two self-sustaining lifeboats that are completely covered and are launched and rolled straight into the water if necessary. We have all been trained for emergency procedures, of course. The Palmer is also a dry ship, which goes along with the safety policies of a U.S. owned ship. The front of the ship is V-shaped so it is able to smash ice, however, that means it’s quite wobbly. Therefore the boat is very affected by waves, and thus we are too. All the trash and waste produced is incinerated and therefore maintains a zero-overboard policy! This ship is highly equipped to be at sea for extended periods of time. Anything from tools and wires to food and medicine is onboard as well as trained engineers and EMT’s. It really makes being onboard for over a month very easy and enjoyable. Compared to most research vessels this ship is absolutely luxurious and I keep getting shocked as to how efficient and comfortable the ship is. Looks like being a traveling Oceanographer isn’t a bad life at all!

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Categories: Musings of an Oceanographer | Leave a comment

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