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Gray's Reef 2007 Expedition
Mission info July 15 2006

Mission Log: June 19, 2007
An Engineer's Perspective

Tom Cleary

P. Hampton Harbin
Strombid eyeing the photographer. (Photo: Greg McFall, GRNMS)
Life at sea is rarely boring. To some it is an adventure, a chance to explore life in what amounts to an alien environment. To others it is an intellectual exercise, an opportunity to work, to learn, to further one's understanding of one of the primary forces at work on our planet and in our lives. Still others view life at sea as an almost mystic or religious experience, awed by the strength and sheer magnitude of the sea beyond the sight of land. As for an engineer such as myself, life at sea is a challenge to be met. It is an opportunity to face and overcome the challenges of the marine environment, which even at its most benign is far more hostile than conditions ashore and which take a heavy toll on the equipment required to support life, and in the case of the Nancy Foster, research at sea.

P. Hampton Harbin
Zooanthids on Clathria. (Photo: Greg McFall, GRNMS)
This trip has proven particularly difficult as multiple systems have required unusual levels of attention and/or repair, foremost among them the air compressor used to support the dive operations integral to the research being conducted on this trip. However with great challenges come great rewards. There is a great sense of accomplishment knowing that through the combined efforts of the entire engine crew, and with no small amount of patience on the part of those who actually operate the equipment, we have managed to keep the compressor operational and safely and effectively continue dive operations, ensuring, I hope, a successful trip for the scientific party.

Life at sea is demanding, it can be frustrating and exhausting, but truly, it is never boring.

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