15 May 2013 – Lehua Rock

We are now steaming towards Nihoa, and our first day of operations
(diving). We left Pearl Harbor late after fueling up and getting the
ship compass calibrated and set, which precluded diving Nihoa today.
We instead stayed in the lee of Niihau and Lehua Rock and did ship
drills, training and planning for the upcoming operations. Our
rebreathers are ready, and we are working on data processing workflows
for collected specimens and observation data.

Internet access is via a satellite uplink, and as of last year, a
wireless network services the boat. Unfortunately, this means that
everyone on board is constantly on their smartphone, iPad or laptop –
or all three! – the tragedy of the commons means no one can access the
internet with any regularity. For a society that has come to depend
on full time, full speed connectivity, the situation is somewhat
distressing.

I tried out the tiny ship’s gym yesterday, with a treadmill that runs
athwart ships (abeam). In rolling seas, a run required careful
attention, to avoid crashing into the front or sliding off the rear of
the machine!

The food is laid on rich and heavy – one could easily roll off the
ship after a month – the assistant chef is a baker – dessert at every
meal. The food really does illustrate how rich and pampered we are –
prime rib and stuffed halibut last night, asparagus stuffed chicken
breasts and ribs tonight. No pasta / rice / noodles each night for
this crew.

The rebreather team is eager to get started, after all of the
preparation and planning that has gone into allowing closed circuit
operations on a NOAA vessel. I am eager to get underwater and start
filming fish and collecting specimens for the Hawaii Institute of
Marine Biology team. We have prepared a workflow for entering all of
the collected specimens in our database system, Explorer’s Log, which
should be an excellent opportunity to validate or improve on a system
that we have been working on for years.

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