Tonga Trench Expedition
Flying into Apia, Western Samoa, our plane came in low over the harbor on its approach to the runway. The R/V Roger Revelle was docked near the breakwater. The ship dwarfed the other vessels nearby.
From my vantage point on board the prop plane, I could appreciate the 277′ length and 52′ beam. What struck me as hard to estimate was the 17′ draft coupled with the height of the superstructure. With a full crew and scientific team aboard, the Revelle could house a total of 59. I had been told this was one of the best research ships to sail on, and I was looking forward to the adventure.
With the ability to spend 52 days at sea, I was curious about how comfortable the ship would be. On boarding the ship, we passed a deck hand preparing to store fresh produce.
We entered the ship through the main deck and staging area where we had our security check, then proceeded up to the cabin assigned to me for the trip. Each cabin on the third level had bunk beds, a sink, desk and wash basin with access to a shared shower and toilet. These are very comfortable rooms.
The main deck houses 5 laboratories, the main lab, hydro lab, computer lab, a clean bio/analytical lab and a wet lab. These labs will be very busy when tests are retrieved from the Tonga Trench.
The Computer Lab
The Main lab – soon to be a very busy place