Saturday, April 21, 2007

Heading West

We are finally on our way. We've been steaming through the night and, while it seems the "Ship Tracker" web site is not working right now, I can attest to the fact that, finally, we can no longer see Honolulu. Excellent.

Not too much to report at this point other than computer problems seem to have been fixed and we had quite an exciting came of ping pong last night. It's amazing the many uses a charting table in the e-lab (electronics lab) can have if you just happen to have a net and a couple of ping pong paddles.

*click on the speaker to hear an audio clip of the bow wave of the HI'IALAKAI

Friday, April 20, 2007

What a Day!!!

A few of you may have noticed a distinct lack of communication from me today. For that I apologize. Today has been one of the most nerve-wracking, up and down days you can imagine.

First: The ship is fine. As you may have read we had a small power issue yesterday (I am not exactly sure what it was) during which we discovered that several of the UPS units, which supply backup power to the bridge, were no longer functioning properly. This being a slightly less than ideal situation, we elected to spend the night cruising off Honolulu so that we could run a small boat to the harbor in the morning to pick up replacement UPS batteries. Some time lost, but nothing major in the long run.

Second: I was experimenting with a new backup program last night. I awoke at about 9 am this morning to find that it had utterly destroyed my hard disk. Everything, nearly 100 GB of data, was gone. My machine started and showed a flashing "?" in place of well ... everything. I was in agony. I had made the decision to leave my backup drive with all my data at home thinking it was not a good idea to have my computer AND backup drive in the same location. Thus why I was trying to make a secondary backup last night.

What was I going to do! Thankfully we were still off of Honolulu and the small boat had not yet returned to the ship. Cristi to the rescue! We were still in cell phone range so I was able to call Cristi who was on the road from Kewalo (my office) to hers. She was just approaching the exit which would lead her to Kailua. She would be able t dash home, grab my backup drive and scream back to the harbor to drop it off with our small boat. But would she have time???

Third: As many of you know I have been in the process of transitioning from a graduate research assistant to a full time employee with the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED). The offer and paperwork arrived TODAY. Would I have to wait until June to finish the process??

It was decided that a few extra hours would 1) not hurt the mission, 2) would allow the ship to install and test the new UPS batteries, 3) allow me to go by small boat back to shore where I could meet a notary to sign the official papers, and 4) low and behold, give Cristi the time needed to get the backup hard drive to me. The stars have aligned as I imagine they never will again.

I was able to get over to the notary, get the papers signed, pick up the hard disk, and give Cristi one last farewell. It could not have worked out better! After several hours, my computer is back up and running and we are on our way to Wake.

WHAT A START! I can only hope things get less exciting from here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

On our way ... sort of

NOAA Ship HI'IALAKAIWe pulled out of Pearl Harbor this morning under bright skies and upon sparkling seas. After stowing gear and making ready for sea we spent the afternoon taking care of emergency drills (fire, abandon ship, etc) and running some tests on the multi-beam sonar equipment we use for mapping the sea floor. That takes several hours and gives us time to make those last minute phone calls to family and loved ones.

Towards the end of the day we had a minor power failure which seems to have damaged a couple of the batteries on the UPS (uninterrupted power source) which feeds clean power to computers and other instruments. Sooo ... it seems we are going to spend the night just off Honolulu, will run a small boat in tomorrow morning to pick up replacements, and commence our transit to Wake starting mid-day tomorrow. hrumph. Oh well. We have extra days built into the transit, so the extra time shouldn't affect our work schedule too much.

I'll let you know how things go tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The day before departure

A few more delays here and there are we are set and ready to go. The ship is outfitted, stores are packet, and we are itching to get underway. If all goes as planned we will push away from the dock at about 9:00 am tomorrow morning to start our voyage.