Friday, August 5, 2011

Working out the kinks

Since the ship is brand new (Iva and I were the first scientists when we got on in Frobisher Bay), there are kinks that need working out. The biggest one, in my mind, is the lack of random spare parts. Regularly, oceanographic equipment ends up jury-rigged together with wire, shackles, duct tape, tie wraps, hose clamps, etc. Most of the older research vessels have built up a collection of parts for this purpose, I find it odd not to have a stockpile to rely on. I travel with some of the parts I might need but, it's hard to prepare for everything that might break or what might need to be connected together. As scientists come and work on this ship and leave stuff behind, I'm sure in time this ship will build a lovely collection of spare items.

In the realm of other problematic things, my CTD has a dissolved oxygen sensor strapped to it (with a hose clamp and a tie wrap – no duct tape yet). This sensor requires water flow past a delicate membrane. The CTD has a pump for the conductivity sensor, so we've altered the tubing allowing water to also pass the oxygen sensor. However, the intake for the oxygen sensor is much smaller in diameter than the pump tubing. To make it compatible, tubing with an inner diameter workable with the oxygen sensor and an outer diameter that fits tightly inside the pump tubing has been cut into a couple short lengths to work as adapters. I brought more of this tubing in case I need to make more 'adapters' – right now, I expect I'll need it.

My other complaint is the medicine cabinet in my cabin. Three mirrored doors are held shut by magnets – an arrangement that works fine in a house. Unfortunately, the motion of the ship ripped the magnets free, leaving the doors to noisily flap about – whapwhap whapwhap whapwhap … We've now taped the doors shut (duct tape use #209) but, we still need to access the shelves inside and the stickiness of the tape doesn't last. The doors always come unstuck at 2 am, waking me up with their 'whapwhap whapwhap whapwhap' until I can't take it anymore and have to get up and fix them with more tape.

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