Week 5: All Good Things Must Come to an End
Breezy Grenier on the USCGC Healy: Last week aboard the Healy. The science party disembarked in Unalaska and we are now enroute to Juneau. STARC is packing up for the season.
Last week we were wrapping up our science operations, this week we are wrapping up the science season. After we successfully recovered the mooring, we went into full steam back to Dutch Harbor. Within hours of wrapping up with science, the USCGC Healy was called into action and used as a refueling station for a rescue mission for one of the Coast Guard helicopters, which went late into the night. Semper Paratus, Always Ready! The hard working men and women of the Healy have definitely earned their well deserved rest after a 6+ month deployment, wrapping up 3 successful science missions in the Alaskan High Arctic.
After the science party departed in Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, it went from a busy beehive to a ghost town. The marine science technician’s office is near our work quarters, so we still see them, and we have the occasional watch stander walking thru on their rounds, but nothing like it was before. The deck team is busy with flight training operations, instead of on-deck running CTD, XCTD, and Van Veen deployments. We are not calling down to the engineers requesting pumps to be turned on; we are not out on deck observing science evolutions. We went from the science labs being full of scientists running and analyzing their water samples, to an empty compartment. We went from having minimum two STARC techs working 24/7, to only two of us onboard working 0800 to 1800, packing up and preparing for the overhaul. I have the entire science sleeping quarters to myself, since the other STARC Tech and C4IT are on the 3rddeck. I have never gotten to say I have an entire deck aboard a ship to myself! Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and what a great feast the culinary specialists put out for us. The moral is highly affected by the quality of dishes the chefs put out, and we definitely lucked out with the delicious meals produced onboard. I am not even saying that because the CSCS (Culinary Specialist Senior Chief) was my A-school instructor.
It is hard to make cleaning up, breaking down, organizing, and packing sound fun and exciting, but something that has to be done, and you actually learn a lot taking apart a lot of the equipment. When breaking down the CTD’s I discovered that one of the brands of hose clamps shared my name, but of course they spelt it wrong!
Tomorrow we are due to arrive in Juneau and that’s when I will catch my flight and head back home. I want to thank the MATE program for the opportunity to come onboard the USCGC Healy to learn with STARC, WHOI, and the U.S. Coast Guard. I am grateful to have been given the chance to help build upon my academic background through hands on training, and add to my experience in being the support of ocean exploration. I am always striving to challenge myself and continue my education to makemyself a valuable contribution to the next generation of ocean explorers. In the near future I wish continue my education and eventually obtain PhD in Exploration Sciences and Technology. I had a great time, and it was a pleasure meeting with and working with everyone.
Fair winds and following seas! Time to get some rest before my next expedition!