For this 42 day cruise, 17 September is mid trip point. That said, the Mirai’s Arctic deployments tend to be six weeks from Dutch Harbor to Dutch Harbor with 2 week voyages between Japan and Dutch Harbor on either side, so the duration onboard is not the same for all. Midtrip is different depending on your rotation.
The Ice Navigator and many of Chief Scientist Shigeto Nishino’s Arctic research team joined in Dutch Harbor. The Ice Navigator, along with some others, will leave the ship on return to Dutch Harbour 07 October, however the majority will remain onboard till the ship returns to Japan on the 20th of October. The team that arrived in Dutch in part replaced a group focused on North Pacific research that were onboard for the voyage from Hachinohe, Japan, and some will be replaced by another with the same focus for the return voyage. Along with the remainder of Nishino’s team, the GODI ship’s officers and crew, and many of the Marine Works Japan technicians will remain onboard. Mid trip is indeed different for different folks.
The GODI ship’s officers and crews (the deckhands, the engine room oilers, and the galley and steward staff) work a four month on two month off rotation- a rotation that is very common on many deep sea fleets today. Thus, on any given date, individuals are at different stages of their onboard or off cycle. Some may leave in Japan in October like Captain Tsutsumi, others will remain for the next voyage.
For the primary researchers, their cruises onboard are based on specific research cruises, scheduled year-to-year and can range from two week cruises to 6 or 8 week cruises depending on the primary research focus. Marine Works Japan technicians are often onboard for up to three months. Some, in fact, list RV Mirai as their primary residence and during their periods ashore happily live almost a vagabond life.
So does mid trip mean anything? Depending on where you are in your own cycle, with your own unique mid trip date it does, but to most the day that has the greatest importance is disembarkation day. For this Ice Navigator it is 07 October.
Capt David (Duke) Snider
Photo: Third Officer Kobayashi on his second Arctic voyage.