02. Cruise Letter #1

Dong-Ha Min’s cruise letters from P18 CLIVAR/CO2 Repeat Hydrography expedition in the Pacific Ocean (2007/2008)

Letter #1


Greetings from the NOAA research ship Ronald H. Brown in San Diego. We are still busy in preparing for the sailing, and crew are busy repairing the generators which have caused delays in our departure schedule. This is frustrating delay, as loss of every single day is a big blow for our science program. We are currently scheduled to leave on this Wednesday morning. We are now docked at the pier of San Diego Navy Base which is probably the largest navy base in the world… rows and rows of warships docked side by side. This is just for the surface fleet. The submarine base is on the other side of the bay and is also huge. You can get lost here.

The ship’s name is after the late Ronald H. Brown who was a minister of Department of Commerce during Clinton’s administration and was killed by the airplane crash. Anyway, this is a big research ship equipped with many state of the art equipment and gears. I attach a few pictures of the ship and the departure schedule board on the deck.

My primary duty as a co-chief scientist at this time, before we set sail, is to determine the work schedule, sampling protocols, and organize different work groups, etc with the chief-scientist.

Perhaps most agonizing job which I just completed is to assign each person a bunk space in the ship. We call it berthing plan (it’s e and not i in berthing…). You can never satisfy everyone with any bunk (bed) arrangement, so we should be as fair as possible with good justification. There are females should be grouped together, some shared rooms with crew members, ages, special disability accommodation, some favor for the people who are on 2 legs in a row (they will spend 3 months in this ship!), some coin flops, etc, etc. I found out today one of the technicians is 79 years old! He is a legend in this business… I’m excited to get to know him during this trip. Anyway, we just posted the berthing plan for all 29 scientists on board with the floor maps. They are to be spread over 21 different staterooms (that is, rooms in the ship). Will see if anyone screams and yells at me tonight.

Because of this unexpected delay of departure, we will lose some “science days” at sea. We have to arrive in Easter Island on schedule to meet the 2nd team who will be on board to relieve us there… Chief scientist and I are working hard to reconfigure the station and steaming schedules with the available time and resources.

I will try to send you the updated news whenever there is a chance during this cruise. Your messages are always welcome.



(sailing D-2: at least I thought so)