Friday, July 21, 2017

Our Own City

By Teresa Atwill
The most important people on the ship, the cooks!
There is a small village out here on the Revelle. It is a floating city with work going on around the clock. The Revelle was designed with ocean science in mind, and the ship could stay at sea for a couple of months if need be. The Revelle makes its own water and has a sewage treatment plant. There is a laundry room, dining hall, library (with lots of books!) and even a movie room. It is amazing to go on deck and to see nothing but ocean for as far as you can see, because inside the ship it feels like you are part of a self-contained community with an amazing number of moving parts. I have been on board for a week and still have not been to all the parts of the ship or met all of the crew.

Here is a movie of what it is like to get one from one place to another, in this case the Bridge to the laundry room:

The ship is 274 feet long, and has more than 5 levels. The sleeping quarters are on 3 levels, another level is the mess hall, kitchen, library and movie room, all the science labs are on the same level as the main deck. The engine room takes up two of the lower levels. If you want to take a virtual tour of the ship you can visit this Revelle website: 

When I first got on Revelle it was really easy to get lost. It felt like a labyrinth. Lots of things look the same – tan metal walls and doors everywhere. I set a reference of the mess hall level in my head, as it is in a central location as I ran up and down the stairs. So everything was either up one or two floors from the mess level or down one or two floors. The science labs are down one level from the mess. The Jason control van is on the same level as the mess and my room is one level above the mess.

View a time-lapse movie of dinner being served in the mess:

A typical snack selection aboard the Revelle.
There are three main meal services at set times everyday and all the food is pretty good. It is amazing how we can have fresh fruit and vegetables after leaving the dock over a week ago. Each day the food served varies quite a lot. For lunch and dinner there is always salad makings. Dinners also include a dessert. Just two people make all the food for fifty-five people for three different meals each day. If that is not enough food for you, or you miss a meal because of your work schedule, there is also lots of snack food available and a refrigerator with leftovers.

"Essential" expedition equipment.
A couple of us scientists from Oregon are really picky about our coffee and so we brought our own espresso maker and we have it set up in a small lab that is not getting used that much.

The ship is run by 22 crew members, and ten of these work in the engine room, including an electrician, engineers, ‘oilers’ and ‘wipers’, each with different duties. We took a tour of the engine room and it was amazingly clean for a ship that is 20 years old, but so noisy we had to wear ear protection and use hand signals to communicate! In the engine room they also house the fresh water desalination plant and the sewage treatment system. They even have a machine shop that can build or repair almost anything!

I wrote earlier about the marine technicians and our computer tech. The rest of the crew include the deck crew and the officers that work on the bridge and drive the ship. The bridge crew are professional, friendly, and helpful. The ship’s crew are an integral part of accomplishing our science goals out here.
Various photos from below decks in the Engine Room.
It is really an amazing experience to be at sea on a research vessel, but just remember: While at sea no one gets a day off! So by the end of the cruise all of us will be exhausted (but happy) and ready for a little time off.