August 11, 2015

A fond farewell

On the morning of the 9th, after having moved onto the Healy the night before, all of us cruise participants woke up in our cozy staterooms to make final preparations to leave port and begin the 2015 U.S. GEOTRACES Arctic Expedition at 1 pm. For the most part, final preparations consisted of organizing and securing our lab spaces, along with securing our bulky science gear that we had to store in the holds. The holds were secured by 1 and most everything in the labs was tied down, so we all went to the forward 02 deck (the deck that directly overlooks the bow) to watch the Coast Guard crew members pull in the ropes before the Healy was tugged away from the dock by two small tugboats. Embarking on long research cruises like this one is always exciting, and it was great to celebrate with so many faces that are just beginning to become familiar. I look forward to getting to know the cruise participants, and I know that this is just the beginning of many great memories to come.

Some of us who gathered on the forward 02 deck to celebrate the beginning of this great cruise.
 After our celebrations, we went to the conference room for the general orientation meeting, where members of the Coast Guard that we’ll be working with introduced themselves and briefed us on their roles on the vessel. Following the Coast Guard introductions, the cruise chief scientist, Dave Kadko, gave us an overview of the science plan for the cruise, noting the ice conditions and the schedule for the next few days.

Dave sharing the current ice conditions and discussing the science plan with the science party and Coast Guard. Captain Jason Hamilton can be seen sitting to the right of the white board.
Following the meeting, we had abandon ship and man overboard drills (typical for the first day of research cruises), which are always an interesting ways to get to know each other and to get to know the ship.

Trying on our survival suits in the helo hanger.
After having our science meetings and safety drills, all 145 of us (51 are scientists) were ready for a tasty dinner (with salad while it lasts!), and were prepared to spend two months at sea.

One of our last views of land as we left the waters of Unalaska and entered the Bering Sea.
My next post will be on the carbon van, which Ryan, Fen and I have organized beautifully!