Ecosystem Responses to El Niño

Date: April 19, 2016

Loading Days, Day 2

Day 2 of Loading Days is about the details.

It’s about finding where things will actually go, seeing if they all fit there, and tying them down once they’re there.

Sometimes, you realize you need things just a little taller then you thought you did. That’s when it’s helpful to have someone like Ben Whitmore around who loves to build things with power tools.


Day 2 is about figuring out if you really have everything you need, and maybe running back to Scripps and Home Depot multiple times for those last precious things before you leave port the next day.

It’s about setting up your equipment and making sure everything is really working. Tristan Byard was literally inside the CTD rosette much of the day setting up his UVP plankton imaging system! (Look hard, he’s in the picture!)


Loading Days can also be a lot of hurry up and wait. The Barbeau lab was waiting for their winch for four days before it finally arrived late on Day 2. They need a special winch with rubber-coated wire because they are measuring trace amounts of metal in the water of their CTD bottles, and the normal iron wire on a normal winch would contaminate all their samples. There were also three separate trips from the liquid nitrogen supplier before we had everything we needed to fill our dewars.



The most important part of Day 2 is tying everything down. Especially with the Sikuliaq’s reputation for rocking and rolling!  You have to tie down every little thing, turning Ali Friebott’s fume hood into half chemistry experiment/half woodshop.


Loading Days, Day 1

Loading Days’ Day 1 was really yesterday, but I was too tired after it to post!

Steps to a successful loading day:

STEP 1) The week before, stack all the things you need in a few places. Because you’re guaranteed to forget things otherwise (and maybe anyways).


STEP 2) On loading day, rent a big truck and load all the goods with your lab mates.


(this photo was totally not staged I promise).

STEP 3) Get to the boat for the first time, be a little overwhelmed by how large it is, how many decks there are, and how much you have to load on to it.


STEP 4) Admire all the empty lab space.


STEP 5) Immediately fill it with every box imaginable, in no logical order, as they get craned off the trucks.


STEP 6) Spend the rest of the day slowly building some order out of the chaos, and figuring out how you’re going to work in the space for the next 24 days.