The Importance of Plan B
August 7, 2004Edie Widder
"Success in life depends on how well you handle Plan B. Anybody can handle Plan A.
—Jim Sullivan, supervisor of shipboard electronics and ships philosopher
Were only eight hours into the mission and weve already moved to Plan B. Co-chief scientist Tammy Frank and I spent a long time yesterday developing Plan A, covering who was going to dive, and when and where we would deploy. We ensured that the six principal investigators, who contributed to the grant proposal for this mission, dove at least once in the front of the submersible -- the bubble" -- at each of the four dive sites.
We also tried to schedule dives for the other scientists, graduate students and science observers in the back of the sub—the dive chamber. It was a complicated dive schedule, involving many considerations, that now needs to be tossed out.
We are currently evolving Plan B.
The wind is blowing 20 kts and picking up. Were definitely going to lose the dive we had planned this afternoon at DeSoto Canyon and probably one or two dives tomorrow. At Capt. Mike Schoellers suggestion, weve decided to reverse the order of our dive sites. Instead of starting at DeSoto Canyon and moving west toward the Brine Pool, were going to start at the Brine Pool and move east, making the long transit while the weather is bad. If the weather improves -- always a big if -- we may not have to scrub anyones dive.
An extra day of transit gives us more time to set up and calibrate our equipment, establish our sea legs, and fall into the routine of shipboard living. We started the day with a safety briefing and Gumby suit training on the 02 deck, followed by a science meeting in the lounge.
During the science meeting, people discussed their roles on the expedition. There was a lot of enthusiasm and a strong sense of cooperation. There was much discussion about the Brine Pool and the strange creatures that inhabit its shoreline. Despite the change in schedule, its clear that no one is disappointed with Plan B.