Hey folks! It’s Jen – Program Assistant and Med Officer here on Below Deck Season 307.
Today marks just one week since our lovely student group joined the ship (the ever-lovely lady, Robert)! As you may already know, fuzzy concepts like days and weeks are of basically no use aboard the ship. Time primarily exists in 6- and 12- hour blocks and meals come whenever the triangle rings.
You know it’s Local Apparent Noon when Nate pops up on the quarter deck with the Student Engineer of the day and a couple of sextants. If you smell some kind of sweet delectable baked good wafting up from the galley then afternoon class will likely be starting within a half hour. If a science deployment is happening, it could be literally any time, any watch, on any day, because science never sleeps.
Teeny tiny man o’ war in a jar. Sophie and Ben present their “Neuston Tow and Tell” during class.
I joined B watch today on their morning watch. We took the deck at 0650 and got to work preparing the ship for—you guessed it, reader: SCIENCE. After a couple o’ gybes and some stays’l passing, we were a bunch of hoven-citos – which is what I like to call us when we are hove-to…which is a lot of the time. Shay bounded about the ship with carnival-like energy collecting Secchi Bets on a whiteboard (no money was wagered, only pride on the line).
This morning was a bit over cast and the secchi sighting average was 31.5 m.
The lowest guess on the ship was 32 m, so it seems that mother ocean won this time. A good and humbling experience for the whole ship’s company, no doubt.
Today will most likely be our last day of “easting” – that is, making easy miles east while in the lee of the Tuamotus before hanging a decisive Leonard (or a 270 degree Richard for those who know what I mean) and heading north towards Nuku Hiva. After living on a port tack for so long, it basically a guarantee that we have all developed a multitude of living habits that will no longer serve us once on a starboard tack. That place you usually put your water bottle while you sleep? That is now a booby trap.
The way you typically put your cup down while you scrape your plate? HA.
Chaos will now ensue. This is life aboard a ship – ever acclimating, learning, and evolving.
“Class in 15. Dress for Splash Mountain.” This announcement trickled through the ears of the ship’s company like a game of telephone, while the unmistakable smell of chocolate and butter made its way up to the quarterdeck. Class got off to a lovely and routine start of announcements and reports. Cat gave a shout-out to our StuStew Flora and let us know that the gooey and rich chocolatey cookies were gluten-free AND that we each were allowed to have TWO of them. Jess let us all know that she and Mikki would be leading a casual, dynamic, and many-splendored discussion about the ethics, economics, and science of fishing for anyone interested in the wake of the beautiful bonito we caught the day before. B watch delivered their deck report to the tune of I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys and A Watch presented their “Neuston Tow and Tell” report.
Emergency equipment works!
Today was a scorcher. The deck thermometer never got below 31.5°C. So, for the main event, Captain Kevo and the mates set up the fire hoses and demonstrated the use of an adductor pump – a piece of emergency equipment used to pump water out of a space very rapidly. After that, we had the firehoses out and the pump was on, so Kevo deemed the science deck “Splash Mountain”. Elliott and Assistant Scientist Jenna happily doused everyone with the hoses. The real MVP performance goes to 2nd Mate Megan and Assistant Scientist Jojo for bravely going for the deck slide. This inspired everyone else to give ‘er a go, as it were. I’ll just say that, for whatever reason, some people just seem to have more friction than others.
A great time was had by all and we rounded out the day enjoying another beautiful sunset from the quarter deck. These days seem to roll by at warp speed some days but there’s much to be grateful for and these moments are so much richer for having been shared with such a lovely, surprising, supportive, skilled, and zesty bunch of people.
I’m off to rest up for dawn watch. You know what we’ll be doing at dawn watch, my dear, sweet reader? That’s absolutely right. SCIENCE.
Big squeeze to all of you and maururu roa for following along!