Drew Anderson's Blog

To follow Drew's blog, please e-mail michael.fitzl@uwrf.edu to be added to the mailing list.

Back to Icebreaker Adventures

Previous Posts

December 21, 2009 November 20, 2009
December 15, 2009 November 15, 2009
November 27, 2009 November 11, 2009

December 21, 2009

We arrived in Montevideo early Friday morning. The boat anchored far from shore so we had to take a smaller boat for about an hour to get to the docks. The second crew came on board a few hours before we had to leave the ship. This gave Matthias and me time to go over everything that has been going on with the experiments with Sam and Henric.  After we finished going over everything I took one of the external hard drives that had the data we had been collecting on it to take home so the data could start being analyzed.

That night everyone went out for dinner together. We went to an upscale restaurant in the middle of the city. The captain gave a speech thanking everyone for how well the trip went. I can’t believe how fast the whole trip seemed to have gone. Everyone on the crew was a lot of fun and I’m really glad that I got to go.

Back to beginning

December 15, 2009

I haven’t been able to send blogs for a while since the ships internet was out for over a week. Yesterday, we were finally able to get e-mail back by using a different setup for the computer. Now, I should be able to send a couple more blogs in the final week.

After the Bay of Biscay the weather calmed down a lot. I spent about 3 days repairing the cabins that were damaged while going through the bay. In many of the upper level cabins the dressers, which were screwed into the wall, had fallen over. Many of them had to have one of their doors reattached and all of them had to be bolted into the walls. No one was in any of the cabins where this happened.

The experiments have all had some problems over the last week. The muon experiment data files were much smaller than what was expected. This was because the GPS antenna was getting very little signal where it was positioned. We moved the GPS antenna and now the data files are much larger.

The DOM Hub was having problems due to the heat. There is an air conditioning unit in the container where the experiment is located. However, when we turned it on we lost power to everything within our container. The electrician was able to run power from a different part of the ship to the air conditioning. There have been no more crashes since then.

When work is done for the day, most people on the ship are spending their free time outside since the weather is now so nice. There is very little wind and it’s very hot. The crew constructed a pool on the Aft Deck a couple of weeks ago. The pool is made out of crates that have been fastened together for the walls and a tarp to hold the water in.

The boat is supposed to be arriving in Montevideo on Friday morning. We are still a little behind schedule because of the weather that we were having. However, this should not affect us catching our planes.

Back to beginning

November 27, 2009

We are currently traveling through the Bay of Biscay. The weather over the last few days has been quite bad. The tables and chairs in the rooms have been sliding around and even some of the cabinets in one of the upper decks came unattached from the wall. Also, on the seventh deck there is an experiment that is measuring muon count rates. A few days ago, the computer was no longer generating data files of the count rates, which we were monitoring through a remote desktop connection. We weren’t able to try to restart the experiment until today since the boat was rocking too much for anyone to attempt to go outside to where the experiment is located. When we went into the container almost nothing was where it was suppose to be. Everything on the shelves had fallen to the floor, a monitor came unattached from its base and was broken, and some of the power cords for the experiments came unplugged. Luckily, nothing needed for the experiment was damaged and we were able to start taking data again. This is supposedly the worst part of the whole trip and it should be over soon.

The DOM Hub switch in Gothenburg didn’t work. Matthias and I were able to get the new DOM Hub onto the network and transfer all the files of code for the data collection over. However, when we typed in the commands to make the computer start taking data nothing happened. We then attempted to read the code and try to figure out where the problem was, but we weren’t able to and ended up switching back to the old DOM Hub. The old DOM Hub hasn’t had too many problems so far. It still randomly stops collecting data but we have been able to restart it before it misses too much.

Back to beginning

November 20, 2009

We’re off! At noon today we finally set sail. The boat is now headed to Gothenburg, where we are going to fill up with fuel for the trip. This could take anywhere between 12 and 24hours.  Then, we will be on our way to Montevideo.

This morning started off with a fire drill. At 8 o’clock all the new people on the ship, there are only 4 of us, had to meet in the office. We were then brought up to the second deck and shown where we are to wait for further instructions in case of a fire or if the boat is sinking. After, we were shown all the positions of the life boats and were even brought inside one. The lifeboats are extremely small, but surprisingly can fit 48 people. The lifeboat was also very uncomfortable and I really hope I never have to go inside one again. I will post pictures later.

After seeing the lifeboats we were shown where the immersion suits are located. The suits will allow for someone to maintain body temperature for up to 6 hours while in the water. They were quite difficult to get into even while we were docked since they have to be tight enough to keep the water out. I can only imagine how challenging it would be if the boat was actually sinking.

The rest of this week was very uneventful. The work for the tank was all finished and the crew didn’t need much help. The DOM Hub has still been randomly stopping its data taking. Matthias, a student from Stockholm University, and I are going to attempt to switch the DOM Hub out with the spare while in Gothenburg. There should be plenty of time to do this before we leave for Montevideo. If this does not fix the crashing problems, or if we can’t get the second DOM Hub to work, we will have to frequently check on the runs to make sure the computer is still taking data.

Back to beginning

November 15, 2009

I’ve been pretty busy working over the last few days. I spent a day helping out around the ship, organizing cupboards and tying stuff down for the trip. Most of my time though has been working on the tank.

Leif, a professor from Uppsala University, came two days ago. I helped him set up detectors on the sides of the tank. These detectors will allow us to see if the tank of ice is shifting due to the tilt/roll of the ship. Also, he has installed a detector on top of the tank that will allow us to monitor the temperature and humidity of the tank from within our work station.

The data collection from the tank has been randomly stopping lately, so I’ve had to continuously check up on it. It’s not that important that it keeps running right now, while we’re in harbor. However, once we start sailing I will need to watch it closely.

I’m pretty excited to be on the ship. It has everything that you could possibly want for a long trip. There are saunas, a bar, gym, and a movie theater with hundreds of DVDs.  While it’s been fun staying in the port and being able to see the town somewhat at night; I am really starting to look forward to when we leave for Montevideo.

Back to beginning

November 11, 2009

I got into Helsingborg, Sweden around midnight Sunday. I missed the connecting flight from London to Copenhagen. So, I had to wait 6 hours for the next flight out. Once I was in Copenhagen I took a train to Helsingor, Denmark and took the ferry across to Helsingborg. I met up with Paul and Serap early Monday morning at the hotel and we all went over to the Oden together. The room the computers were originally set up in was too hot for them to work properly. The DOM hub was randomly stopping its data collecting in the night. We were able to get another room on the ship to set up all the equipment in. Moving everything took up most of the day. There is an elevator on board though which made moving the heavy stuff much easier. The equipment seems to all be working now. Monday night Paul’s neutron monitors came. Tuesday we put them together and placed them on top of the IceTop tank. The rest of the day we spent trying to tie stuff down to get ready for the trip. Everything is almost ready, we are just waiting on someone from the ship to come by and check over everything.

IceTop Tank/Neutron Detectors.

The new work space.

Back to beginning