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Permalink 07:26:22 pm, by millercommamatt, 29 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

VOCALS Day 1 Sunset

Tonight is our first night at sea for the VOCALS cruise on the RV Ronald H. Brown and nature did us the courtesy of providing a very nice sunset.

Permalink 04:31:14 pm, by millercommamatt, 77 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

VOCALS Leg 1 Route Update

We had the science meeting I mentioned previously after lunch. Among the things we discussed was the change in the schedule and the route of the Ronald Brown due to the one week delay in leaving. The main change in the route is the removal of the sampling parallel to the Peruvian Coast and the zig-zag sampling route to and from the WHOI buoy. The new VOCALS leg 1 cruise track is shown below.

Leg 1 VOCALS Cruise Track
Leg 1 VOCALS Cruise Track

Permalink 10:57:11 am, by millercommamatt, 272 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

Under Way... Finally

It's been a week coming. A fire and some electrical problems pushed back the sail date a week, but this morning the Ronald Brown finally left harbor to start the VOCALS research cruise. Next stop, Rodman, Panama and then the southeast Pacific Ocean.

Before we left port this morning we had a Rabbi come aboard the ship to bless it, it's crew and scientists, and it's journey. The Rabbi prayed for safety, productivity, and good fortune all while cracking jokes about how Jews are not a sea fairing people. I'll have to take his word on that last part. Everything I know about Jews and their maritime traditions, or lack thereof, I learned from watching Ben Hur. Somehow, I can't imagine a Charleton Heston film set in ancient Roman times to be an authority on the matter.

The blessing of the RV Ronald H. Brown

Anyway, steering this post back to the topics of science and VOCALS, we're having a general meeting with all the scientists soon in the main lab on the Brown. I'll post a picture or two of the main lab in the near future so everyone can see my work area and how everyone who works in here has things set up. As for the content of the meeting, it's supposed to be general introduction so that all the scientists will know who each other are and have a general idea of what they're doing. We'll also discuss the updated cruise track and where we are and are not allowed to take data based on what countries have granted us permission to conduct research in their territorial waters.


Permalink 07:22:22 am, by millercommamatt, 176 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

Sea Trial - Take 2

Well, it's Saturday morning and we're going to try this sea trial thing again. We were supposed to leave the harbor for testing, but while turning the ship yesterday afternoon to load some equipment from University of Miami, the crew noted something about the steering of the ship that they didn't like. Thus, the sea trial was pushed back to this morning and we're getting ready to pull away from the pier.

Despite boarding the boat at 6:30am, good things awaited me when I came on board. Namely that the radar ran overnight without any difficulties and it was still running strong this morning. I have some computer scripts that are supposed to help aid and automate the data processing workflow that I use to archive and quality check the radar data and they all work perfectly. So for today, everything is working as it should and I'll get to see if the radar stays working while the boat is moving.

Sunrise from the deck of the Ronald H. Brown overlooking the pier and the harbor.


Permalink 09:24:20 am, by millercommamatt, 226 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

Calm Before the Sea Trial

Good morning everyone. I writing this from on board the Ronald Brown while I'm strapping down computers in my work area in preparation for today's sea trial. The agenda for today is fairly simple and the boat is fairly quiet since all of the science crew isn't on board yet. The agenda: we secure equipment, have a safety briefing, load some equipment, turn the ship and load more equipment, and then we sail out of the harbor for a few hours and make sure everything works.

We just finished our safety briefing. The purpose of the safety briefing was to educate us on where to be in an emergency. For a fire I have to muster in the main lab. If I have to abandon the ship, I'm in life raft 5 and I muster on the aft fantail. The most entertaining part of the safety briefing was trying on immersion suits. Immersions suits are designed to keep you alive in cold water and they're basically very thick wetsuits. When you put one on you can start to appreciate what it must feel like to be Gumby. You'll understand what I mean when you see the picture below.

Anyway, I have some tasks to attend to, so I'll post a run down of the sea trial later today or this evening.

Me, trying on an immersion suit.


Permalink 02:50:31 pm, by millercommamatt, 210 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

VOCALS Cruise Delayed

I went down to Charleston Thursday night to begin my preparations for boarding the Ronald Brown for the VOCALS research cruise. However, Friday morning I learned that there had been a significant electrical problem aboard the Ronald Brown early that morning; something involving an electrical short and a fire. Anyway, the result is that the sailing date for the Ronald Brown has been pushed back a week. Thus, I'm back in Raleigh and I'll probably head back down to Charleston in the coming weekend to try this whole research cruise thing again. So, I have another week at home in Raleigh and I get to be thankful that a problem like this didn't happen at sea. As far as the VOCALS schedule is concerned, we'll still arrive in Arica on November 3rd and I'll still depart Chile for home the night of November 6th.

I should note that the purpose of the content of this post is to express frustration through humor and not to disparage any of the agencies that generously fund and support scientific research. My colleagues and I like our grants and we like to conduct research. If you are not familiar with the origins of the humor behind my photoshopped image, please visit


Permalink 04:51:56 pm, by millercommamatt, 45 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

Track the Ronald H Brown

You can track NOAA research ships in real-time using the NOAA ship tracker. Use the ship tracker to track the journeys of the Ronald H Brown, and by extension me, during the VOCALS research cruise.

NOAA ship tracker link:


Permalink 08:04:01 am, by millercommamatt, 115 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Sometimes, I Really Hate Cars

My car broke down over the weekend. I did some troubleshooting and I figured out that the fuel pump wasn't working. I was supposed to pick up the part to fix my car this morning. When I got in my wife's car this morning with her to pick up the fuel pump before she dropped my off at work we found that her car wouldn't start. Her car cranks, but it won't fire and I can hear he fuel pump run. We'll probabaly get it towed to a machanic today while I try to bring my car back to life. How come machines can't just work like they're supposed to and do what they're told?

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This is where I rant about whatever I want. Here is where I share my thoughts, dreams, strange ideas, and general commentary on my life and the world around me.


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