ORCAWALE Weekly Report: 8/16/01 – 8/23/01
Unfortunately, there is little science to report this week. On Thursday, the ol’ Jordan experienced a mechanical breakdown that prematurely sent us seeking refuge in Newport, Oregon. This time, it was a main shaft bearing that burnt out. At first, the report was optimistic, and we had hoped to leave Newport by Sunday. As they took things apart, however, the damage appeared more severe. When the bearing froze, the shaft continued to spin, which resulted in the shaft being scored. In order for the new bearing to work properly, the shaft would have to be removed and re-milled. Again, early, optimistic reports suggested that this could be done in Newport, but as they dug deeper, the engineers discovered 1) the rear shaft would have to be removed before the damaged section of shaft could be removed, 2) the shaft was bigger than the largest lathe in Newport, and 3) the box which controls the variable-pitch propeller had evidence of saltwater intrusion. So, the ship is now going to dry dock Portland (leaving Friday PM). The transit and required repairs are expected to be completed towards the end of NEXT week. The incoming cruise leader (Lisa Ballance) certainly hopes to have something to report the following week.
The run into Newport (after the breakdown) was lovely. Mostly Beaufort 1 conditions… some of the nicest we’ve ever seen in that part of the world. Unfortunately, the marine mammal observers were off-effort (because under one engine we were going at only 6.7 kts). The ever-vigilant birders were, however, at their stations all day. Those on the flying bridge reported remarkably few marine mammal sightings despite the outstanding conditions. On Friday, two humpback whales were sighted on Stonewall Bank, going into Newport. We launched J-2 and obtained photos and biopsy samples.