On July 11, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego's two global-class research vessels Roger Revelle and Melville were at opposite sides of the Pacific. Roger Revelle is pictured leaving Palau, steaming out Lighthouse Channel to complete the last part of a first-of-its-kind study of the physical oceanography and physical morphology of the Palau archipelago, using Roger Revelle's installed hydrographic and mapping sensors, as well as a novel underway CTD system that enables Scripps Chief Scientist Shaun Johnston to measure ocean salinity / temperature / depth without having to stop the ship. Cruise RR1309 will end in Guam later this month.
On the other side of the Pacific, Melville is shown transiting the Ballard Locks in Seattle, en route to a berth at the University of Washington's marine facility where the vessel will swap scientific parties. Scripps scientist Peter Worcester and his team will be leaving the ship after a successful mission studying how sound interacts with the seafloor, using ocean bottom seismometers and a suite of sensors designed and built at Scripps. Mobilizing on board next will be Scripps scientist Uwe Send, who will deploy a suite of sensors at Station Papa in the Gulf of Alaska to establish it as a global node in the U.S. Ocean Observing Initiative remote sensing array.
Melville's four-day port period will be typically busy, completely off-loading the instruments and equipment of the off-going science party, and loading, installing, and testing the gear of the oncoming scientific party, in addition to conducting routine vessel maintenance needed to keep Melville shipshape and ready to resume her ambitious 309-day operational schedule in 2013. Melville's previous Senior Chief Engineer Paul Bueren, who is currently on duty in Anacortes, Wash. overseeing the construction of Scripps's forthcoming ocean-class ship Sally Ride, was on hand with his daughter Sara as the ship transited the locks.
"There were quite a few folks there to meet her and their loved ones," he said. "Great to see that. Even my old Ballard neighbors came down to watch. Sara and I went down to the UW for a visit with the crew, we really enjoyed having a cup of joe with Chris, Mark and Bob on mess deck. I have to say that Melville absolutely sparkled from stem to stern. I did not realize how much I missed her."
- Bruce Appelgate is associate director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Ship Operations and Marine Technical Support