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Packing the Can

Today was the beginning of the packing of "The Can" for the Davis Strait project.

"The Can" is slang for the shipping container that will eventually get all our gear to the ship. Observational oceanography involves a lot of loading and unloading.

I came to work dressed up for dinner with a physicist/fellow-grad-student, but changed into the grubbies I keep in my office for just such an occasion. Of course, since I was prepared, I didn't end up doing anything that might get grease or some other impossible-to-launder substance on my clothes... Instead, I had to wrestle some nasty custom Windows code onto the Toughbook (it runs Windows XP, can handle Arctic weather, and is designed to shut down all networking capabilities at the touch of a very physical button) so I could then calibrate the compass in an ADCP... which was a simple console app tucked inside a generic MFC windows app so poorly-written I would've failed the kids who wrote it. In the end, we used a bare terminal to talk directly to the compass and relied on the compass manufacturer's website for guidance as to what to expect -- and I could have done that on my nice little MacBook. The rest of the day was endless trips up and down the stairs to grab this piece of gear or that sheet of neoprene or cut big chunks of foam into spacers for the batteries that power the moorings we were building today, and then fitting these huge, unwieldy batteries into their cages, and me with my streched tendon sheath all ibuprofen'd up being reminded that if I happen to drop one of the batteries, the protocol was to evacuate the building.

Silly giant lithium batteries.

By 5, I'd done everything an untrained lab tech could be trusted to do. I'm downright exhausted, and disappointed that I didn't get to fire up Matlab at all, which meant that I spent no time on my own research. Thank goodness we have a three-day weekend, because I've got so much work to do!