Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The calm before the storm

Today was full of the same stuff (they mostly will be, it's just what we find out by doing the same sampling methods that will make days stand out). Today's stand out science was purely down to the accuracy we are managing to get. Dangling something on the end of a wire a kilometer below the boat and manouvring the vessel in order to drop the piece of equipment within 3m of the target we planned- quite impressive! Consequently we managed to drive a piston core through a mound which is something that has not been done before and which will help a lot to answer questions as to how they were formed and why they are there (which is what excites us scientists).

Really though the whole day has been overshadowed by the expectation of this storm. It had initially been expected earlier in the day but now we are expecting it tonight and after a day of ROV box core and piston core, the first two were on flat sunny waters and the piston core was in light rain and slightly rising winds. It now looks positively grim outside with rain and grey seas with white caps, but still no pitch and roll from large swells or building seas. We are all talking about how we will cope, how bad will it be, "do we still have to get up for our 4am shift?", "lash down everything that moves, and anything heavy... what's already on the floor, can't fall on the floor!", will we ride it out?, can we work in the storm?, will we have to make a 10hour steam south to hide behind the island of lewis?

All this talk makes me almost look forward to it- but I remember what happened when my sis was looking forward to experiencing an earthquake in Chile, and look what she got. So I'm trying not to tempt fate, but it shall be interesting no matter what.

Ok off to bed again, it's not yet 8, but I have not been getting to bed until 9pm for the last few nights and sleeping from about 9.30pm until 3.30am is not my idea of enough. Besides, it might be the last sound sleep I get before the weekend....!Taken from the met office website's (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/marine/shipping_forecast.html#All~Hebrides) shipping and gale forecast, we are right on the edge of the gale warning zone, I think just inside "hebrides", although bordering "faroe" and "fair isle" which are the white boxes just north of the red area. I noticed only "rockall", the southwestern most of the group of red boxes, was the only one red first thing this morning, with "bailey", the one above rockall and next to "hebrides" where we are, was red by 10am, followed by this forecast at the end of my shift.

Incidentally, for those of you that are not british, or don't know about the radio broadcast of the shipping news on BBC Radio 4, you should really see if you can find a recording of it on the internet- it's an institution! It really sounds like code, complete gobbledygook, unless you know what it means and where the amazingly named areas refer to. What is more they are nearly always read out by a smooth voiced calm individual, and if you are listening in the wee small hours of the morning, it's the kind of thing that can send you off to sleep by the sheer smooth and uncomprehendable manner of the 5minute broadcast. There's bound to be a recording on youtube or somewhere: I fully encourage you to partake of the phenomenon!

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