Friday, February 27, 2009

Ready to Sail

It’s been a busy few days! Since I arrived in Manila on Tuesday, I’ve been working hard to set up my equipment for the cruise. I work with a system called ADCP, which stands for Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. What does that mean?

Acoustic means having to do with sound.
Doppler has to do with the way sounds change pitch. I’ll explain more later, but the Doppler effect is also how speed guns work. The eight graders used those to measure the speeds of cars near DLMS, so the rest of you can ask them about that.
Currents are the movements of water in the ocean – remember the East Australian Current from the turtles in Finding Nemo.
Profiler means that it produces a profile of the whole water column, not just at a single depth.

By now you’ve probably noticed that there are lots of special names for things at sea. If I use a term that you don’t know, please ask me to define it.

At sea, I work with ADCPs that are mounted on the bottom of the ship, called SADCPs (for Shipboard ADCP) and ones that are lowered into the water with other instruments, called LADCPs (for Lowered ADCP). The SADCP system is easy to use; you turn it on at the beginning of the cruise and then just check it to make sure that it’s working. The LADCPs are a lot more work! They have to be turned off and on every time we put them in the water and they have very complicated wiring. That means when they don’t work, it can be very hard to figure out what’s wrong with them.

My friend Zach works with the LADCPs too. I work from noon to midnight and he works from midnight to noon. But when we’re still in port and at the beginning of the cruise, everyone is awake most of the time. We spent a long time together making the system work today and yesterday. Here is the completed setup:

Later, I’ll go through everything in this picture. For now, just notice the two yellow cylindrical machines – those are the LADCPs – and Zach.

Here’s the ship in port:

We should have left by now, but we don’t have permission to yet. This happens a lot, so we’re all trying to patient. I'll post again after we sail!

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