Port Call Activities - Panama
A smaller technical staff supported Leg 171A; they arrived in Panama City, Panama, on 17 December 1996. To explain the re-organization that had taken place ashore while the ship was at sea, the Director of Science Operations at ODP and the Interim Manager of Science Services went to the Balboa dock facilities early to deliver an explanation to the ODP specialists on board. ODP Alternate Sea Pay Plan (ASPP) personnel for Leg 171 arrived at the ship by taxi to listen to the presentation. The remainder of the specialists arrived by bus about 10 a.m. Individuals then met with the Interim Manager of Science Services and the Director to ask questions and to review the job information forms (JIF), which describe the individuals' jobs. Crossover between the two technical teams commenced and continued until early afternoon when a bus took the offgoing crew to the hotel. Freight that was expected to arrive in the afternoon did not show up. The Sedco Christmas party was held in the evening and all enjoyed themselves.

During the 18th and 19th, freight moved off and on the ship in a normal manner. The shore shipping office staff, the staff scientist, and the operations manager helped the technical staff move the core boxes off the ship.

The ship sailed at 0200 on 20 December to begin passage through the canal. There was a 12-hr delay at the north locks to the Caribbean due to lock maintenance. Sailing with us were two Tracor representatives who installed the final software and made hardware changes for the implementation of the JANUS database. Also on board were two Anadrill Engineers to support the logging while drilling (LWD) program, an ODP engineer to review our inventory database for eventual merging with their Foxpro system, and a programmer to assist with a UNIX installation on our underway seismic system.

The time we saved by making an early departure from Panama City was lost waiting for canal passage and sailing into the heavy trade winds on the way to our drilling sites off Barbados.

Under way from Panama
Navigation tapes were initiated entering the Caribbean from the Panama Canal. No watches were stood until 25 December. This time was used to demonstrate the lab procedures to the programming specialist who assisted in the Solaris operation system 2.5 upgrade of the SUN computers and who works for the Information Services' database group on shore.

On Christmas Day the ship responded to a distress call and came along side a Venezuelan fishing boat dead in the water. We relieved a Greek ship that had been there two days. Three hours later the USCG cutter Nantucket arrived from San Juan to control the situation.

The JOIDES Resolution arrived at the Leg 171A drilling area on the evening of 26 December, and a beacon was dropped at the preselected site. While the drill pipe was being tripped, Global Positioning System (GPS) positions were collected and averaged to ensure the best offset from the beacon for the drill site before spud in. This LWD site was terminated in basement and the pipe tripped. After the logging records were processed, the final seafloor depth could be posted. The remainder of the Leg 171A sites proceeded in the same manner. The LWD tools were used to drill five sites/holes into the accretionary prism off Barbados. No cores or samples were taken. Drilling objectives were terminated at 0000 hr on 7 January and the ship was under way at 1000 hr for Barbados.

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