My Favorite Things Aboard

April 16, 2024

Author: Amanda Newcombe, B Watch, Bowdoin College


Amanda at lookout. Photo by Finn.

Ship's Log

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Noon Position (Lat and Long): 39  39.1S x 152 31.2W
Ship Heading (degrees): 109
Ship Speed (knots): 4.7
Taffrail Log (nm): 1798
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change): Force 4 NExE wind. Sailing under the stays'ls and jib on a port tack.
Description of location: Southern South Pacific Ocean

Boat life is very different from shore life. On the boat, each day is unique and has some cool aspect to it. Whether it is doing DNA extractions at 2 am on dawn watch, deploying the neuston net or CTD during morning station, processing pH and chlorophyl in afternoon watch, or doing a meter net tow on evening watch, there is always something interesting happening in the lab. On the deck side of things, a watch usually involves standing lookout, dead reckoning plotting, boat checks, weather observations, and helm (steering the boat). With so many different things happening, I've developed my favorite things to do on the boat: lookout, helm, drinking lots of tea and hot chocolate, sail handling, science deployments, molecular work, myctophid identification, knitting, reading, climbing aloft, watching the sunset, and looking at the incredibly bright stars to name some. This evening, the sunset was fantastic, and on evening watch a couple nights ago, B watch had clear views of the milky way and got to watch shooting stars. Another benefit from having been on the boat for over two weeks now is all the awesome things I've seen such as dolphins, whales, a mola mola fish, bioluminescence (the nighttime neuston net tows are often glowing blue when we pull them aboard), albatross, petrels, cape pigeons, and so many copepods.

I've also learned so much while on board! In lab, I've gotten to do 100-counts, myctophid identification, net processing, chlorophyl processing, DNA extractions, nano dropping, pH processing, hydrocasts, meter net tows, neuston net tows, and 6-minute wildlife observations. I especially enjoy controlling the wire for the hydrocasts and meter net tows, and helping to put the equipment in the water is also neat. Identifying myctophids based on their photophores under the microscope is also really cool. A year ago, I never would have thought that I would be on a rocking boat examining biodiversity and micro pipetting in the middle of the night, and it is definitely an opportunity I will never forget! On the sailing side of things, I've learned the names of the sails, lines, and the pin rails, and when the call to gybe comes, I know how to, if needed, pass the stays'ls and the jib. I'm also so excited for all the sailing things I still have to learn!

I am loving this trip and am so grateful to be here √ thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and to everyone here who is contributing to this incredible experience!

Notes to home:

Emily- I'm posting this now in hopes that you will see it on the 14th. Happy Birthday!

Daddy, Mommy, Emily, and Patrick- I miss you all and am sending you lots of hugs. I love you lots!

Amanda Newcombe, B Watch, Bowdoin College

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