Magazine article Oceanus

Adieu to the R/V Oceanus

Magazine article Oceanus

Adieu to the R/V Oceanus

Article excerpt

When Capt. Larry Bearse reported for his new job sailing for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1980, he and his friends saw two ships tied up side by side at the WHOI dock--a large research vessel and the smaller, 177-foot R/V Oceanus.

"What ship are you going on?" his friends asked. "It's got to be that ship there," Bearse replied, pointing to the big ship, "because that little thing's not going across the ocean." Bearse quickly discovered what scientists and crew found out when they sailed aboard Oceanus. "It turns out she's an excellent sea boat," he said.

Designed by John W. Gilbert Associates of Boston, Oceanus was constructed by Peterson Builders of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. Its name comes from the Greek Titan Oceanus, father of the river gods and sea nymphs. He was represented as a great stream of water encircling the Earth--the source of all bodies of water.

Oceanus sailed into Woods Hole in November 1975, painted a bleak battleship gray, but with distinctive, rakish-looking twin stacks arranged like kingposts on the port and starboard sides of the bridge. It joined the fleet of illustrious WHOI ships that have brought back hard-won knowledge about how the oceans work.

Oceanus was operated by a crew of 12 and accommodated 20 scientists for up to 30 days at sea. Over 36 years (with a major midlife renovation in 1994), Oceanus conducted nearly 500 missions, spanning all fields of oceanography and covering hundreds of thousands of miles, from Georges Bank to the Red Sea and south to the Sargasso Sea and the Angola Basin. …

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