Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Surviving the Sea

So the past week (4 /11-15/ 2011) I've been doing this course in Southampton to train the 1st year students of the School of Ocean and Earth Science how to use survival equipment on the boats.  This is needed to do any kind of scientific work on the boats.  In the course we had lectures and practice in Sea Survival techniques, First aid, Small Boat Driving, Local species identification, bathymetric mapping, and sediment lab work.

The sea survival lecture was basically just telling us what kind of clothes to wear for different weather conditions, and what the life rafts are like on the schools boats and how to survive in them.

Another part of the course was learning how to drive the RIB, which is a small inflatable boat that is very easily maneuverable.  Well i should say more maneuverable than the Grady but less than the Aquatrax...  They taught us the basics of boat driving like turning from the back, then moved on to docking in the simplest way possible and turning around in a confined area.  It was actually really fun and really easy for everyone, especially me and another guy in my group Aiden who has been boating just as long as i have.

Today we had our pool session where we had to experience getting into the life raft, that we had learned about the previous day, while in the, o so realistic environment of the pool.  We also had some group bonding time practicing huddling together to concerve body heat.  Brian Dickie creepily took pictures through the ordeal and if he ever makes them available ill post a few...

In the afternoon we learned more about the life raft and they told us about flares and how to use them but didnt shoot any off :(  im not sure how well ill be able to preform in a pressure situation if i dont practice with the flares....

I started the day looking at sand.  Well not just sand but many different types of sand, in our sediment dynamics lab.  The highlight of which was the flow tank that demonstrated how sand moves when exposed to a strong current.

In the afternoon we went to the NOC aquariums (a bunch of fish tanks with critters in them) where we met a crabby old lady who helped us hone our skills of observation and identify local species.

Group B started out on Bill Conway (the smaller of the research vessels we use) and collected data for a bathymetric map.  To do this we had to divide ourselves up into different jobs.  I was standing quietly on the side of the boat and somehow was chosen to be the Chief Scientist who was in charge of making sure all the data got recorded... Its because im a "3rd year"... whatever... haha.  It was actually a pretty fun role cause i got to talk to everyone (Some more than others... Sophie).

In the afternoon, we took our collected data, plotted it in excel and made a bathymetric contour map similar to what I did in GeoSc 040.  Since I had done this before and am a pro in excel, it was quite an easy task.  But i think i did more teaching of my fellow group mates than the ever so fit Gemma Smith (our "TA" who my friend Andrew essentially hit on during the session before me )(She has the same name as my flat mate so thats why i remember her name...)

We did first aid and CPR all day today.  The only thing that made this bearable was, again, my friend Andrew's outgoing american antics.  The instructor really enjoyed talking (taking) the piss out of him in the nicest way possible during the session.  At the end we witnessed some real first aid when one of the other groups members passed out when we were talking about amputation.

After the session a I went to starbucks with Nayna, Sophie and Aiden before heading home to finish a paper and start packing for Madrid!

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