4 February 2021 : Visting the engine room

Today we have continued with the PCR test to detect any possible cases of COVID-19 on board the Marion Dufresne. In my case, I had the nose swab by the on-board doctor, Melanie Bauducel, at 9h30AM. From the six PCR tests I have had in the last year I can confirm that she is by far the best (least painful), although I may be biased because she gives us a piece of chocolate once we are done. Yesterday night the doctor confirmed the PCR test results. After testing everyone on board the ship, none of them showed a positive result.

This afternoon we have had the chance of visiting the engine room. Best of all, for us non-French native speakers, we had the option to partake in the English-speaking tour. Six early career scientists (two British, a South African, a Taiwanese, a Spaniard and a French (which we have kindly adopted, in exchange for translating this post 😉)) followed Elise, the third mechanic, on an amazing tour.

©Wen-Hsuan Liao

We started by having a brief introduction of what the daily life of a boat mechanic looked like while observing the screens in the engine controller room. We then went to visit the entrails of the ship. First, we arrived to the rooms containing the three huge powerful Wartsila diesel engines of which only two are required to work at the same time. Since we were at the station, two engines were working at 20%. Next, we checked out multiple “smaller” (at least relative to the engines) machines including three desalinisation plants (the ship is currently using about 10m3 of water per day), the waste water management, the hydraulic steering mechanism and the shaft.

We finished the tour in one of the most important sections of the ship, the kitchen. We got to see that the kitchen fridges are still half full so we will not have any problems as we continue at sea for over one more month. After the tour, we all understand a bit more how the ship functions and are all back to work collecting water and preparing for the next stations. 

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