Goan to Antarctica....

Goan scientist Helga do Rosario Gomes is en route to the icy continent, and is keeping her blog of the journey...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

How we celebrated the Day of the Cups

We are heading home with the accompanying crashing, banging and ice breaking.

On the last day of science, we sample the deep waters – up to 3000 meters. Accompanying this deep cast is the traditional Day of Cups – a tradition which like Thanksgiving and Christmas starts off with a lot of excitement and preparation and ends with leaving people deflated and with stuff they don’t know what to do with.

Let me start with the CTD, the darling of oceanographers.

Photo (on right): The CTD, carrying the cups down into the deep.

A huge circular frame is wired with sensors that measure Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth (hence CTD) and the frame is lowered via a winch. The sensors send back data profiles to the ship's computers giving the scientists an idea of the structure of the water column that they will be sampling.

Attached to the frame are huge tube-like structures of PVC with lids on both sides.

When the CTD is launched all the lids are left open but as it descends they can be triggered through computer controls to close at discreet depths. In doing so we are able to collect water from a particular depth with the least bit of disturbance.

When the CTD comes to the surface everyone rushes to bleed it -- this is the place where egos clash and greed for water surfaces. It gets ugly especially when people haven't slept in days.

As we all know pressure in the water column increases by one atmosphere for every 10 meters which is not a big deal until on the Day of Cups. On this day every scientist equipped with an assortment of markers spends hours painting the polystyrene cups with colorful designs for their family and friends.

The Day of the Cups on the Nathaniel Palmer dawned with a raid on the stationery closet and an attack on Lorenzo, the chef who holds the polystyrene cups. Dormant cubists, surrealists and pointillists rose to the occasion as did patriots with flags on their cups.

Photo: Preparing the cups for the deep.

The cups were placed in a mesh bag and tied to the bottom of the CTD.

Yes you have guessed it! When the cups reach lung bursting pressures they shrink into little sake cups and along with it shrinks your art work and the poem to your girlfriend. It’s hard to tell which is greater -- the pressure to be creative or the pressure of the water column.

Two hours later, when the CTD returned, many had a fine set of shrunken cups but few knew what to do with them. Joaquim's cup said Antarctica-Goa and had coconut trees on it which the pressure had transformed into tiny hairy spiders.

Photo: Goa cup.

My cup from last year holds Canadian coins which I often find in my change. Someday when it's full I plan to visit Canada and buy a lucky Goanetter a beer.


At 12:49 PM, Blogger Allwyn Gomes said...

I think that the The Day of the Cups was cute

Take care

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Allwyn Gomes said...

think that the The Day of the Cups was cute

Take care

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Kiran said...

watch this site which has simmillar videos. www.canaravideo.com is very fast, good and has lot of indian cultural videos. it looks like indian youtube try this out.


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