Today was our first day working aboard the ship, and was a busy one. Top priority is making sure that everything which should be on board is on board. This is made more complicated because some things are shipped from our university, some we order to ship directly, some are from USAP central purchasing, and some have been sitting in a warehouse in Punta Arenas since the last cruise. So, today we attacked mountains of boxes will our many pages of inventory lists – checking everything off. It’s a fun quest, opening up so many boxes which were all carefully packed to protect their contents shipping around the world. It was also a largely successful quest – out of hundreds of items to load on board, there’s only a handful left to check on tomorrow.
Another important task of the day was picking up ECW – USAP speak for Extreme Cold Weather [clothing]. ECW is all of the heavy warm and water proof clothing and extra layers we need to stay warm in Antarctica. The sorts of clothes many of us would have no reason to own, and which are very bulky to travel with. So it’s great that we can just borrow a set of warm things, and return them in a month – so much easier and cheaper than everyone having to buy their own and then bring them back and forth. We try on everything to make sure it fits – everything from long underwear, to work pants, to jackets, to hats.
Tomorrow we move aboard the ship for real (tonight we are in a hotel), and will get to set up our lab space!