Dear Outside World,Happy Birthday Jeff! We miss you tons and Napier will not be the same without you.
I feel like I have lived many lifetimes in the past 24 hours. I started off the day (night?) at 0030 with a wakeup for my dawn watch. After a few dawn watches under my belt, I think I have mastered how to get ready in 10 minutes in pitch dark while being pushed around by the crashing waves. Olivia, Jess, and I reported to the lab ready to sort and identify the zooplankton that were caught the watch before. Our coolest find was a man-of-war jellyfish digesting a myctophid fish in its tentacles. We processed all the zoop goop all through the night (morning?) until 0700. At some point during all the zooplankton madness, the dawn watch delirium set in and manifested itself as having an impromptu photoshoot in the lab. We finished off our watch singing sea shanties with B Watch while setting the mains’l. For all you land-dwellers, that is what we call the main sail. 100% true fun fact and totally not a generalization: sailors hate vowels. While A Watch rested after breakfast, B Watch took to the deck and kept the Seamans chugging along towards Napier. I am stoked to see more of Aotearoa New Zealand and even more excited to eat ice cream. I took for granted all the small luxuries of land life that are scarce on the ship -- ice cream, laundry, listening to music, and texts from my friends and family. Still, the Seamans gives in ways that I did not expect. The ship has her corners that are perfect for reading. My fiction books have been an essential part of my self-care routine on the ship. Ironic how books have become my escape from the outside world despite the fact I am literally sailing in the South Pacific. During class today, we had our lab practical. We rotated through 24 stations testing our knowledge on lab deployments, data collection, processing, and safety. It has been rewarding seeing my own growth as a scientist during the past few days. I remember the first day feeling overwhelmed by all the lab equipment during orientation. Now I can confidently process samples and collect data, even when the sea is actively throwing me off my lab stool. Our victory snack was biscuits made by our exemplar galley staff – Ashley, Morgan, and our student steward of the day Annie Grace. The galley is the beating heart of this ship. They boost our morale and their delicious meals are the only constant in this dynamic environment. I plan my entire day around Ashley’s creations and am completely devastated if I sleep through a snack ration. Speaking of food, I have another watch rotation after dinner from 1900 to 0100. Lately, I feel that all I ever do is watch, sleep, eat, and read. It’s repetitive and exhausting but I enjoy staying busy. Kia Ora, Nick Graves Cornell University P.S. Felíz Cumpleaños Mami. Te extraño mucho y espero que lo pases bien. Aunque no puedo pasar este dia especial contigo, por lo menos vamos a ver la misma luna esta noche. Abraza Andre y Rolando por mi. Te extraño mucho mi cielo. Every day I count down the days till I will see you again on Christmas Day. I can’t wait to tell you about all I have been doing and hear all about your Prague adventures. I love you so much Kenny.