We are docked at Newport, a fishing city on the west coast of Oregon. Newport is the home of the US Government's Pacific Marine Operations Center. It is also home to Oregon State University's flagship ship, R/V Oceanus.
As we arrived downtown, I was told a key piece of information by Alex, a grad student from Oregon State University who is also on this cruise and knows the area well. Pointing, he says "If an earthquake happens, run for that hill there". Road signs provide a clear indication of why. I've been to a tsunami danger zone before, in central Chile, but there, the large earthquake had happened and the probabilities of a big one occurring again were much smaller. Cascadia is different. As I said in my last post, a large earthquake is waiting to happen. It's a case of when - not if. Fortunately, we are at the forefront of research that is trying to understand the earthquake hazard.
Being put to work
As soon as we got on board, we were put to work. There were a few brief handshakes, but it was clear that there was a lot to do before we set sail in the morning. The first job was to carry heavy pieces of vital equipment onto deck. I had arrived in my jeans and flip flops, which turned out to be highly unsuitable.Tomorrow, I will certainly wear my steel toe-capped wellies from the off. I am learning quickly.
Fortunately, all the equipment is on board and we are ready to set sail. As I look out to sea, the weather looks foggy. This is a good sign as fog normally means low winds and calm seas. Fingers crossed.I have no idea how I'm going to react to rough seas, so I've taken seasickness pills as a precaution. I have also stocked up on crystallised ginger, which is believed to be a great remedy for nausea.
Yellow circle = current location