Keck Expedition 2004

July 30, 2004 - August 11, 2004
August 16, 2004 - August 26, 2004
August 30, 2004 - September 8, 2004

July 29, 2004 Pre-Cruise Day

Cruise Update for Sunday July 25 to Thursday July 29 (by Ben Potter)

All seismic equipment, data loggers, battery spheres, computers, and various other devices to be used on the KECK 2004 expedition were loaded into a 24’ rental truck on Sunday the 25th. Tony Ramirez and myself (Ben Potter) were to drive the equipment to Newport Oregon, a 14-hour trip. Around 60 hours later we finally arrived. Almost nothing went as planned.

First we discovered that our keys would not let us into the warehouse to get our equipment on Sunday. We had to be very creative to work around this. Then we discovered that the local rental truck company closed early forcing us to go to another office. Next we dealt with the rental company who did not seem to understand the importance of getting our truck to us in a timely fashion, upon finally receiving the “well seasoned” truck, we loaded four pallet boxes, six regular pallets and two frames. We were on the road by 10:30 pm on Sunday. This must have been one of the safest vehicles I have ever been in, largely due to the fact that it lacked the capacity for travel above 60 miles per hour. Its method of cruise control was stomping the pedal to the floor and keeping it there, with this method, one could keep a steady 60 on the downhills and around 35 on the uphills.

We resigned ourselves this slow and steady trip north. All well and good until we reached the altitude and mountains of Redding and Shasta California, where the truck decided that the 115-degree heat was just too much, and blew its transmission. We were towed a few hours back to Redding, and told that a triage on the truck would begin in the morning. The next day found us walking around Redding and frantically networking to either find another truck or get ours working again. Debra even offered to drive a truck from Salinas to rescue us. Ours was deemed a lost cause, and later that afternoon, happily enough, another, much less antiquated 24’ truck was located in Redding. This brought about the excitement of transferring several tones of scientific equipment between trucks in 115-degree heat. A circa-1960 forklift was a great aid, and Tony and I were able to get back on the road that evening. We arrived at the Western Flyer at 3 am the following day. What a trip.

Today (Thursday July 29, 2004) we have moved all of our equipment onto the Flyer, have begun to set up our labs, and will undergo final preparations for our departure tomorrow at 0800 hours. Lets hope transit and deployment go better than the trip up!
-Update by Ben Potter

Footnote to the precruise preparation is a ship-wide round of applause for Pete Braccio from the MBARI IS group. Pete traveled to meet the ship in Newport to help us connect all of our computers to the ship's network. He also worked to put in place a broadband wireless connection for the ship in port. After seven hours of perseverance Pete's efforts allowed everyone on the ship to enjoy a high speed connection back home. This greatly facilitated last minute data and information exchanges, including getting driver software to network our group's computers.
The transition between science groups is always a bit of a thrash to get the networking accomplished. Because our data processing scheme requires many types of UNIX workstations to work across the ship's network we asked Pete to help during the port stop. Our work now is much smoother because all of our computers can communicate and will ultimately be able to move data sets among themselves.

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