Photos aboard Scripps research vessel Melville!

Ready to board R/V Melville from San Diego's Broadway Pier before the research ship is retired.
Ready to board R/V Melville from San Diego’s Broadway Pier before the research ship is retired.

The research ship Melville retired today. For five decades scientists aboard the ship helped to expand our understanding of the oceans, marine biology and planet Earth. I headed down to the Broadway Pier on San Diego’s Embarcadero this morning, because for one rare and final time the general public was invited to tour this legendary ship!

The R/V Melville, the oldest active ship in the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet of marine research ships, was launched by the Navy in 1969. Operated by the world-famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, the vessel has undertaken 391 research cruises and steamed a total of 1,547,080 nautical miles. A fact sheet distributed to today’s visitors also notes that the Melville logged over 90 equator crossings and has hosted around 7,116 scientists from 237 institutions. That amounts to a lot of knowledge gained!

The amazing oceanographic research ship was named after George Melville, an arctic explorer and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. One interesting fact: the ship was used in the filming of the 1976 movie King Kong!

I took these photos as I enjoyed this fascinating final tour of the ship. I hope my captions accurately describe what I saw. (If they don’t, please leave a comment!) Some of the interior shots are a bit blurry. I apologize.

The Melville is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of UCSD in La Jolla.
The Melville is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of UCSD in La Jolla.
One of many friendly, helpful people who've served on the history-making ship.
One of many friendly, helpful people who’ve served on the history-making ship.
The tour started at the bow. Downtown San Diego skyline in background.
The tour started at the bow. Downtown San Diego skyline rises in the background.
Excited people climb up toward the pilot house of Melville.
Excited people climb up toward the pilot house of Melville.
The shiny ship's bell!
The shiny ship’s bell!
Huge number of buttons, knobs, switches and dials in the pilot house of Melville.
Huge number of buttons, knobs, switches and dials in the pilot house of Melville.
A second photo of the complicated ship control console.
A second photo of the complicated ship control console.
The ship's log is open on some navigational charts.
The ship’s log is open on some navigational charts.
Looking out porthole from the chief scientist's quarters below deck.
Looking out porthole from the chief scientist’s quarters below deck.
The chief scientist during research cruises slept here.
The chief scientist during research cruises slept here.
The library, lounge and study contain shelves of books and several interesting displays.
The library, lounge and study contains many shelves of books and several interesting displays.
Graphic in library depicts the R/V Melville.
Graphic in library depicts the R/V Melville.
Portrait of George Wallace Melville, the ship's namesake.
Portrait of George Wallace Melville, the ship’s namesake.
Bronze plaque commemorates the Melville's launch date in 1968.
Bronze plaque commemorates the Melville’s launch date in 1968.
Painting by artist Chuzo of the Melville hangs in a corridor near some stairs below deck.
Painting by artist Chuzo of the Melville hangs in a corridor near some stairs below deck.
Meal hours are posted on door leading to the cafeteria.
Meal hours are posted on door leading to the cafeteria.
Visitors check out the mess hall where crew and research scientists enjoyed a break, to eat, talk and share knowledge.
Visitors check out the mess hall where crew and research scientists enjoyed a break, to eat, talk and share knowledge.
One can choose bug juice or milk. I'll take milk, please!
Hungry folks can choose bug juice or milk. I’ll take milk, please!
Numbered mugs on the mess hall wall. Number 1 belongs to the captain.
Numbered mugs on the mess hall wall. Number 1 belongs to the captain.
Several masks, ethnic artifacts and marine objects decorate the walls of the cafeteria.
Several masks, ethnic artifacts and marine objects decorate the walls of the cafeteria.
A look at a shipboard laboratory where various materials could be analyzed.
A look at a shipboard laboratory where various materials could be analyzed.
At the photo's center is a winch control. Video monitors help scientists visualize their work underwater.
At the photo’s center is a winch control. Video monitors help scientists visualize their work underwater.
Gauge registers up to 75,000 pounds of tension!
Gauge registers up to 75,000 pounds of tension!
Massive A-frame at stern of Melville. The working deck contains exhibits for people to check out.
Massive A-frame at stern of Melville. The working deck contains exhibits for people to check out.
Sea Soar is an undulating towed vehicle used to collect real-time information, from the sea surface to a depth of 400 meters.
Sea Soar is an undulating towed vehicle used to collect real-time information, from the sea surface to a depth of 400 meters.
This outdoor area can be closed off during rough weather so that work can be performed when conditions are poor.
This outdoor area can be closed off during rough weather so that work can be performed when conditions are poor.
M.O.C.N.E.S.S. Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System allows oceanographers to catch zooplankton and measure environmental properties like salinity and temperature
M.O.C.N.E.S.S. Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System allows oceanographers to catch zooplankton and measure environmental properties like salinity and temperature.
Kids examine a rock dredge, used for the recovery of heavy material on the ocean floor.
Kids examine a rock dredge, used for the recovery of heavy material on the ocean floor.
Van Veen Grab for ocean floor sampling. When it hits bottom, the jaws close and grab a sample of sediment, rocks and creatures.
Van Veen Grab for ocean floor sampling. When it hits bottom, the jaws close and grab a sample of sediment, rocks and creatures.
Seismic Sound Source for sub seafloor acoustic imaging. Towed behind research vessel in conjunction with hydrophone streamer arrays to image the sub-seafloor geologic structure.
Seismic Sound Source for sub seafloor acoustic imaging. Towed behind research vessel in conjunction with hydrophone streamer arrays to image the sub-seafloor geologic structure.
Heavy machinery available on the complex ship includes multiple winches, cables, cranes.
Heavy machinery available on the complex ship includes multiple winches, cables, cranes.
Ocean probe with multiple sensors near an A-frame at ship's side, where it might be lowered by cable into the water.
Ocean probe with multiple sensors near an A-frame at ship’s side, where it might be lowered by cable into the water.
CTD and Water Sampling Rosette measures conductivity, temperature and depth with a variety of sensors. Other chemical and biological parameters can also be measured.
CTD and Water Sampling Rosette measures conductivity, temperature and depth with a variety of sensors. Other chemical and biological parameters can also be measured.
The super strong cable runs from here to one of two A-frames, where equipment can be towed or lowered.
The super strong cable runs from here to one of two A-frames, where equipment can be towed or lowered.
One of many powerful winches on the research vessel Melville.
One of many powerful winches on the research vessel Melville.
View from Broadway Pier of A-frame jutting from the Melville's side.
View from Broadway Pier of A-frame jutting from the Melville’s side.
Farewell RV Melville. The human race learned much during your decades of service!
Farewell R/V Melville. The human race learned much during your many decades of service!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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