The R/V Thomas G. Thompson left Honolulu on November 5, 2011 heading toward the Western Pacific. This expedition journal was written by cruise participants and uploaded about once per weekday, depending on internet availability.
November 4, 2011: Mobilization
Will Koeppen and I ran a few last minute errands in the morning before moving our gear to the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, which was docked at Snug Harbor, the pier owned by the University of Hawaii. At the boat, many scientists and technical crew were still finalizing the days-long effort it takes to load, set up and secure instruments, computers and gear for a six week long trip at sea. Planning an effort like this involves complicated logistics, and you don't want to leave port without lots of spare everything.
The KU students had a few hours of freedom; however, their day was not entirely without incident. Around 9:30 a.m. Jen called to inform me that Nick had a surfing snafu and needed to visit the doctor. Let's just say, "I remained calm." At least on the phone. Apparently, Nick was out surfing and got hit by the fin of another surfboard. Now please don't worry, he is fine. In fact, it's hard to tell anything happened to him until he bends down to show you the very top of his head. But if he does that you get to see the 18 staples in his scalp! The staples mean that we're not letting him wear a hard hat for the first week or so, and we get to have a staple removal party in about 10 days. After his doctor's visit, Nick sent me a text saying he picked up some souvenirs from Hawaii, so his sense of humor remains intact. And he still had the energy to go with Matt, Jen, Tom, Dani, and Jinchang "Sam" Zhang on a hike to Diamond Head Crater after lunch.
We all met back at the hotel at 2 p.m. for transport to the ship, our home for the next 42 days! Everyone dragged their gear up the gangway, over the cables and pipes on the deck, through the water tight doors and the main lab, and down the stairs to their assigned bunk. I think a few of them were having second thoughts about their large luggage during the move! We had a quick meeting so that the science team could introduce themselves to each other, and then everyone had time to unpack and secure their belongings.
Early that evening, we walked to La Mariana, a sailing club and tiki restaurant near to the dock. La Mariana is quintessential Hawaiian kitsch (think Gilligan's Island) and the last of its kind. Some local friends of mine from graduate school came to send us off and wish me a pre-happy birthday, and we toasted to a successful cruise. Between our group, and many of the ship's crew and science techs who came to La Mariana, we had a strong showing and closed it down at 10 p.m. (in early Hawaiian style).
We walked back to the R/V Thompson, stowed the last of our gear, and slept for the last time on a stable platform, scheduled to sail at 9 a.m. on Saturday. ♦