Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The men (and woman) in charge

There are 22 crew members on board the RRS James Cook on this cruise. The most important thing you have to know is that THEY are running the ship. We are their guests.

The crew includes the four people working in the galley - Chris, Wally, Graham and Roger - who prepare excellent food for us 3 times a day. Then we have Anthony who is responsible for everything related to administration on board, ordering stores and interactions with local authorities in every port. He is the shopkeeper as well (the shop is a cluttered room where everyone on board can buy T-Shirts, chocolate, toothpaste, and sweets, and did I mention chocolate, three times a week).

At the bridge we have the Chief Officer (Richard), the Second Officer (Michael) and the 3rd Officer (Amy – only female crew member and on her first cruise on board the RRS James Cook!) who are sailing the ship.

Everything that functions 24/7 on board such as the engines, air conditioning, water, electricity, is provided thanks to a very dedicated engineer team – Bob, Chris, Ian, Innes, James and David.

Mick and Andy are responsible for loading of the equipment and everything that has to be moved from one part of the ship to another, for example.

Then we have Dave, Ian, Kenneth, Peter and Will who are providing support regarding the deployment and recovery of every scientific instrument.

And last but not least, we have Bill, the captain of the RRS James Cook, in charge of everyone and everything happening on board this vessel.

The crew usually spend a total of 6 months a year at sea generally for periods of 2 months maximum but it can go up to 10-12 weeks.

They have had a diverse range of experience before joining this research vessel … and their image of scientists is kind of clich├ęd like "they all look like Jesus Christ and wear sandals with socks" (which is not always wrong) but on the other hand they like the scientists' enthusiasm and love to learn new things every time new experiments are conducted on board. It is nice for them to have a different group of people of various ages on each cruise (PhD students to senior scientists).

And it makes it interesting for them when we make new discoveries on board their ship!

Bill adds that "It is even nicer if they laugh at my jokes." And, he admits that the crew are always amused when the scientists get seasick.