22 February 1999

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research - NIWA
Greta Point, Wellington, New Zealand

There was a distinct sense of excitement that I felt this morning. Today was going to be the first time that I would get to visit the ship that was to be the base for our expedition, the NIWA Research Vessel Kaharoa. Although I had seen photographs of the ship and read all about her capabilities, there is nothing quite like actually stepping on board a ship, and walking the decks, to put everything into perspective. Until my arrival here in New Zealand, so many of the key aspects of this expedition had just been words or pictures -- the Deep Rover, the Kaharoa and of course, the giant squid. Over the past few days it is probably safe to say that I have seen, touched, lifted and scrubbed my body clean of more giant squid than most people in the entire world. Now it was time to head over to King's Wharf and see the ship and wait for the Deep Rover to be delivered.

Pulling up alongside the Kaharoa we saw a very large flatbed truck parked on the pier with two enormous yellow and white boxes that we immediately knew contained the Deep Rover and its support gear. Things were really beginning to come together. The skipper of the Kaharoa, Evan Solly, met with the folks in charge of the Deep Rover to decide how best to get the crates off the truck and onto the dock, and then the ship.

The skipper jumped up onto the dock and measured the boxes and then jumped back on to the ship and marked out where one of the boxes was going to be placed. One thing that came as a surprise to everyone was that some of the Kaharoa's superstructure was in the way of the box, therefore preventing it from being fixed onto the deck. To my surprise, the solution was to simply cut off the entire railing and support structure. What was even more interesting was that they were quickly painting the railing BEFORE they were going to cut it off and move it ashore. Before you knew it, sparks were flying, winches were humming and the railing was hoisted off the ship and onto the dock to be reattached at a later time. Talk about people with a "can do" attitude!

Pretty soon, a large yellow crane lumbered its way down the wharf and came to rest alongside the Kaharoa. In less time than it takes some people to tie their shoes, the crane operator had hoisted both boxes off the truck and gently placed them side by side on the dock. Since the boxes were securely padlocked, and since the keys to the locks were not on hand, we were just going to have to wait until tomorrow to get our first peek at the vehicle that would be taking Clyde to the depths of Kaikoura Canyon. I kept thinking of what it must be like for a child to see all those wrapped presents under the tree on Christmas Eve, knowing full well that they couldn't be unwrapped until the next morning.


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