SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
June 17, 2016
Dear Shore & Co.,
As we cruise along these Pacific waters, there are a variety of very important systems on the good ship Robert C. Seamans that makes this voyage considerably more pleasant than it would be otherwise. This is the realm of Engineering, and it is a hot and sweaty place involving diesel engines, a wide variety of pumps, plenty of plumbing, a few dank smells, and more wires than you would ever dream of shaking a stick at. The operating engineer, Mickey, and his assistant, myself, spend our days managing these systems and keeping them running in good order.
My particular role revolves around a Preventative Maintenance schedule that involves tasks on daily, weekly, monthly, per-trip, and per hours of operation schedules. For instance, every Thursday is also Valve Day-a tour de force of exercising sparsely used valves handles in all corners of the vessel to prevent seized valves-and this comes on top of a list of fundamental checks that happen on a daily basis. Occasionally, this schedule is augmented by a surprise when something breaks, which has been relatively infrequent on this trip, and that's how we engineers like it. When something does break, our rigorous schedule of boat and systems checks finds and resolves small problems long before they become big problems.
Between making fresh water, moving fuel, and pumping waste water, the engineers also have time to help out on deck and watch science deployments, and today we added a whole new kind of deployment to our scientific mix. Along with the free CTD (current-temperature-depth) profiler, we attached a collection of artwork to be sent down to 2000m below the surface. Our medium? Sharpie marker on Styrofoam cups. When we pull the cups (and the CTD, of course) back on board after several hours in the water, the cups will have shrunk to about 1/3 their original size, and the miniaturized drawings take on the great appearance of finely detailed work.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Dad! I'm excited to see you in a few weeks!