Morning duties

Henning Finkenzeller checking his Cavity Enhanced DOAS instrument. Photo: Kirstin Krüger Henning Finkenzeller checking his Cavity Enhanced DOAS instrument. Photo: Kirstin Krüger

It is 5 in the morning and your cell phone is trying to wake you up. Well, actually the clocks were set one hour earlier, as or cruise has brought us now considerably to the east. The three shifts for the crew members (12:00-4:00, 4:00-8:00, 8:00-12:00, both am and pm) were equally shortened by twenty minutes. This way, everyone is treated fairly.
However, in the cabin it’s just dark and you are not really awake now anyhow. The bulkheads are shut due to the anti-piracy guidelines. You don’t even notice whether there is rain outside or whether the ship is cruising or stopped. You know just one thing: Better get up now before falling asleep again.
I try to slip out of bed and into the clothes without disturbing my roommate, catch my head lamp and head from the bottom of the ship to the bridge, where my instrument is located. It is measuring iodine oxide in the air – or that is at least what it should do. To ensure this, I have to check it and do a calibration before sunlight, before this compound gets emitted into the air.
A short ‘Good morning! I’m going up.’ to Uli, the Chief Mate, and I’m on the peildeck above the bridge. This morning everything is fine; obviously there was some rain during night that made the optics of my instrument dirty. So that means I have to do some troubleshooting followed by a new calibration. Susi is up and on the peildeck as well, taking care of the denuder tubes in which iodine is absorbed to powder for later analysis back in Germany..
One look at the horizon: Not really spectacular. Perhaps because there are too few aerosols (like you find them on the continent or especially in polluted areas), or perhaps I am just too tired to be amazed by the scenery.
For me, my morning job is completed now. Trying to have some minutes more to sleep, I descend again into the dark belly of the ship and my bed. Next business: Breakfast at 7:30. The steward Harry and the cooking team Willi and Andrè will certainly give us the right kick we hope for to start into the day.

by Henning Finkenzeller