Speed 7.0 knots (kts)
Location 71.074° N, 145.036° W
Depth 1418.5 meters
SPECIAL FEATURE DISCUSSION: (see previous journal for the questions.)
As the name implies, Thick-billed Murres have a heavier bill than Common Murres. Most of the birds in this image are Thick-billed Murres, but the top center bird and the lowest bird have thinner bills. These are Common Murres. Another little trick to look for is the white line running down the center of the Thick-billed Murres' bill. I'm not positive about the ID of the bottom left bird but it may be a third Common Murre.
Murres and many other northern hemisphere seabirds maintain the ability to fly so they can nest on cliffs and rocky islands out of reach of land predators such as foxes. The nesting colonies of most penguins in remote parts of the southern hemisphere have no land predators and so they can just waddle &/or slide to their nests.
We continue to transit east off the northern coast of Alaska towards our rendezvous with the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Louis S. St. Laurent. As we rounded Barrow we crossed out of the shallow Chukchi Sea and onto the Beaufort Slope along the southern edge of the deeper Beaufort Sea. There were some very interesting sea floor features such as submarine canyons and iceberg gouge troughs to observe in real time as our sonar systems painted the picture beneath the ship for us. The last report I've heard sets our meeting sometime Monday, but that is subject to ice conditions that both ships encounter which can radically affect a ship's speed. Prior to our meeting and the true beginning of this year's international joint expedition there is still a lot of science going on aboard the Healy. The sampling crew (Jenny & Pete) went through a big planning meeting on the fantail (aft working deck) with the Coast Guard, detailing every step of the upcoming sampling operations and how they will safely accomplish their tasks. They are cleaning and prepping gear now while they have the time before the very busy sampling operations are underway. The ocean acidification team (Chris, Sherwood, and Mark) is very busy with their water sample analysis and they are setting up for a 'CTD' (conductivity, temperature, depth) sampling operation which lowers a large device called a rosette holding numerous sampling bottles that can be opened at various levels throughout the water column. The rosette will also carry a high-tech device that will characterize the chemistry of the water continuously as the rosette comes up through the water column. The geophysics watches (headed by Bill D, Tom O, and Peter and helped by Andy, Helen, Caroline, Brian, and myself) go round the clock collecting multibeam swath bathymetry, subbottom profiling, and acoustic doppler current profile data. The ice study team (Pablo, Caryn, and Josh) are constantly studying the latest satellite imagery to help plan our course lines, and the marine mammal observing team (Justin, Sarah, and Kwasi) keep constant watch from the bridge to record any whales or seals the ship encounters.
I took a guided tour of the ship's engineering facilities yesterday and it was pretty cool. The ship is a maze of various passageways and spaces that those of us on the science team don't normally see but are critical for the functioning of the vessel. When the officer of the engineering watch makes the rounds of the ship they cover 2 miles of passageways! I was especially impressed with the ship's propulsion systems. There are four 12-cylinder diesel engines aboard that each can produce around 10,000 horsepower (by comparison, diesel semi trucks produce around 200-400 hp.) The ship can operate with just one engine running (making up to 10 knots) but when full power is needed three of the engines will run. The fourth is a reserve engine in case one breaks down or needs maintenance. On average the ship consumes about 11,000 gallons of fuel a day! But unlike most ships, the engines don't directly turn the propellers. Instead, each engine connects to a massive generator to produce electricity for the ship. In essence, this is a giant electric ship that generates its own power at sea. There are two 16-foot diameter propellers astern to drive the ship, each run by an electric engine housed in a large room amidships that transfer motion to the propellers via long turning shafts. There is also a bow thruster which is another large electrically-driven propeller but it is housed in a big pipe inside the ship near the bow. Water comes in the pipe, gets thrust though the pipe and then directed by vanes through ducts out the port or stern sides under the bow to give the ship better ability to maneuver in tight spaces.
Moving around a ship is a lot different than moving around a school or house. The main doors through bulkheads are watertight and have strong locking mechanisms that you crank open and back shut each time you go through, stepping over a lip. If there is an emergency like a fire or a major leak these are designed to isolate the problem to a single area of the ship. Going up and down decks is accomplished via ladders (instead of stairs) and hatchways (openings in decks.) Some hatchways are secured by hatches which also have watertight locks. Another way to get through a deck is via a scuttle, which is a small circular opening. To top it all off, some hatches have a scuttle in their middle to allow quick access when the whole hatch doesn't require opening. So to move around inside the ship you find yourself opening and closing lots of waterproof door levers and climbing or descending lots of ladders. I prefer to travel outside on the weather decks as much as possible to avoid all of the hassles with watertight doors but it can get pretty damp, windy, and chilly out in the elements and there's no avoiding ladders.
The Healy can hold about 1,200,000 gallons of fuel. If the average rate of consumption is about 11,000 gallons a day, roughly how long could the Healy stay at sea without refueling?
If the Healy averages a speed of 12 knots in a day and consumes 11,000 gallons of fuel, what would it's gas milage be?
That's all for now! Best- Bill