BobGeo 2009. Day 7 – Life on board the Pourquoi pas?

Still a heavy swell from last night with more to come tonight. Because of the swell nothing was deployed today other than the acoustic equipment, therefore I thought I might write a little about how my time onboard is spent.I am a diabetic and when I was first asked if I would like to take part in the BoBGeo Cruise I was a little bit apprehensive about how I would cope with being seasick as I have to eat regularly to maintain my sugar balances. I knew from a previous experience on a ferry from one of the channel islands, Jersey, back to Torquay when I had to stand outside for 2 hours that I would most likely suffer some degree of sea sickness. However, after a chat with my doctor he gave me a supply of patches which you place behind your ear. The patch seems to be working really well and I am certain that if I did not have them it would be a different story especially after last night’s storm.

The scientific staff and crew are split into 3 watches, from 00:00hrs to 04:00hrs, 04:00hrs to 08:00hrs and 08:00hr to 12:00hr, these watches are repeated in the afternoon. There is also a fourth group/watch known as the ‘out of watch’ which means that you are on duty at any time. I am in the ‘out of watch’ group.

My day normally starts with breakfast around 7.00am, that is providing I do not sleep in. There was still quite a swell in the sea this morning and my bowl of cornflakes took off along the tray rail and nearly landed all over the floor.

The sea this morning-it does not look like it felt!

After breakfast I spend a bit of time wandering about the ship to see what is going on and asking questions about what people are doing and what is happening, Jean-Francois writes up the white board up on level 7 what is due to happen each day, unfortunately for me, it is in French and while I recognize the odd word or two I usually have to ask someone what is planned. Almost everyone can speak English very well, sometimes they have a difficulty in finding the right words but I can usually work out what they mean. I only wish I could speak French as well as they speak English.

Oliver Soubigou, Thierry Schmitt and Laure Simplet study the information that the Casino (electronic log) is producing

I am not too keen on heights but after my walk around I often end up outside at the front on level 7 and watch for dolphins and the birds. Alternatively I will go to muster deck six which is at the stern end of the ship and watch what is going on deck 3 where most of the equipment is deployed from.

One of the seismic canons on the left and the 600 meter seismic streamer going through the pulley (bottom right) which picks up the acoustic signals as the bounce back up.

Today they were deploying the seismic streamer and you could see the flash and hear the deep thump as the seismic canon went off sending its low frequency sound waves down though sea floor to bounce back off the different interfaces to provide a profile of the sea floor.

The Cafeteria

This normally takes me to around lunch time which for me is at 12:00 noon. The food is reasonably varied and good but we do seem to get fish in one form or another quite a lot. Today the starter was a grapefruit salad which I think contained some prawns, the second course was vegetable spring rolls which were followed by lamb with carrots and beans, and the desert was an ice cream Cornett. I had thought that I might lose some weight on the cruise but I fear the opposite may be the case!

Me hard at it posting the latest blog

As the afternoon wears on I start to think about my daily blog and what there is to write about. I like to try and have it done before Dinner, which is at 20:00hr for me (tonight we had cream of vegetable soup and gammon with peas), and give a printed version to Jean-Francois to check over in case I have not quite got some of the information correct or if there is something else he would like to add. After dinner I get it back and make any required corrections before I start to upload it onto the CoralFISH blog page which can take up to two hours, especially if there are a lot of pictures to upload as we do not have the quickest of internet connections on board. At this point I also give Thierry Schmitt a copy for him to translate into French. At the moment the blog software does not support accents but we are trying to find our way round it. Around this time I also send an email to my wife to let her know that what I have been doing. Sometimes in her replies she gives me a telling off for my spelling mistakes and grammatical errors that she spots on the blog which, if you are following the blog, you may see changed a day or so after they have been posted.

The cabin I share with Charles Dupe who is here along with Ludivine Martinez to record the birds that can be seen while we are at sea.



Normally by the time I have finished uploading the blog it is time for bed unless there is something happening later at night such as the SCAMPI deployment on Sunday night when I went along to the control room to watch the video come in as SCAMPI was trawled across the sea floor looking for signs of coral (See yesterday’s blog).


All in all I must admit I am quite enjoying my first time at sea and meeting many new friends. Being the only none French speaking person on board can be a bit hard sometimes, but most people very good to me and make allowances for my inadequacy and will often repeat for me what has just been said.

This entry was posted in BobGeo 2009. Bookmark the permalink.