0030: Good morning! Turn on your red light and throw on your clothes for the day. Don’t forget your harness, red light, sunglasses, and a full water bottle. Hop out of bed and try not to fall putting your shoes on in the dark, on a moving ship.
0045: Read night orders and complete your deck walk.
0050: Deck turnover, meet with C watch and get updated on the happenings of night watch.
0100: First weather report and location of the watch. Map the latitude and longitude of the ship. Realize we’ve gone over 1,000 nautical miles!
0130: First boat check of the watch. Happens for every hour. Smell all the places for weird smells, look for odd liquids, and check all the values in the engine room.
Proof of life
0200: Job rotation. It’s time for lookout. Put your foulies on for sea spray or possibly some waves. Strap in. Try to remember how every song in your playlist goes to pass the time. An internal iPod that’s just a little bit broken.
0300: You’re relieved from Lookout, report back to your mate. Time to steer.
Don’t even think about taking your eyes off the compass, because then, you will in fact, get off course. Even if the wheel doesn’t move. Repeat the cycle until end of watch.
0600: Another rotation of lookout. Standing at the front of the ship (clipped into it), you bounce with the waves. Like a rollercoaster, but prettier. After a few minutes, a bird visits you. I still don’t understand how they can be out this far. Flying near the ship for about 5 minutes, it finally lands on the bow of the ship, a mere 15 feet from your lookout station. Once the bird rested a bit, it begins flying near with the ship once again. It reminds you that you and birds don’t get along. Staying nearby, it poops twice. It is ahead of you so every time you worry it’ll hit you. It spots a flying fish, quickly glides away and snags it while the fish was still in the air. It’s still hungry; it dives in the water and grabs another snack. Takes off from the water and finds a floating piece of plastic to land on and disappears into the distance. End the lookout still unsure about birds.
6:50: Watch turnover, say good morning to B watch and get updated what breakfast is for the day.
0700: Breakfast! Cereal bar. A very good breakfast day.
0725: Breakfast clean up.
0730: Nap time, take a few layers off and crawl into your sleeping bag.
1220: Lunch bell rings. Decide if you’re going to wake up.
1430: Class on the quarter deck. Begin with a joke from Cap and some announcements from anyone who has one.
1440: Learn about Local Apparent Time and how to calculate it.
1530: Snack time and visit with other watches. This is the only time of day everyone is awake.
1630: Nap time. Get a few hours in before your next shift.
1800: Get a wake up from C watch, put some layers on and closed toed shoes.
Tonight is a deployment.
1820: Dinner bell. Enjoy some chicken curry and rice. The perfect amount of spice. Fill up your water bottle, for about the 9th time today.
1845: Deck walk and initial both the deck night orders and the lab night orders.
18:50 Lab turnover, review what the last watch completed and discuss what will occur in the next 6 hours.
1900: Lab hourlies and the last 6-minute observations of the day. Prep sample bottles. Write a quick lab haiku for the composition book.
1930: Galley clean. Everything gets a scrub. Galley mats get hit with Dawn, it is tough on grease. Floors are swept and mopped, on hands and knees. All dishes are clean and sanitized. Grease traps are emptied. Counters cleaned with vinegar. Meat sink is bleached. Griddle is scraped.
2000: Lab hourlies. Bring the clean galley mats back down.
2030: Head back to the lab, review the setup and responsibilities of deployment.
2200: Time to double gybe. The ship needs to be going 2 knots to properly gather data.
2215: Deploy Meter Net. This requires 5 people to execute safely and efficiently.
2330: Neuston Tow is thrown in the water.
2340: Execute a surface station sample. Very fancy science: a bucket tied to the boat.
0000: Remove the Neuston Tow. Empty the contents into a bucket and spray down the net with salt water. All of the organisms need to be out, but if they are sprayed with fresh water, they’ll explode. Osmosis is tough. At night, the phytoplankton’s bioluminescence really shine when sprayed. On this tow, there was a huge piece of plastic with crabs and barnacles on them.
0030: Wake up B watch for their dawn watch. Don’t forget to tell them the force of the wind, temperature, time, and if they need to grab their foul weather gear.
0040: Operation fish rescue. Try to toss them back before it’s too late.
Success rate, on average, is about 40%. Hopefully, with practice and efficiency, this rate will go up.
0100: End of watch: check out the on-boat aquarium. Head below. Remove your harness, make a cup of tea, practice drawing fish (eyes closed) with the watch mates.
0200: Bed time. Hopefully tomorrow can be laundry day, if the weather permits.
Nina Mewborne, A Watch, American University
P.S. I’m wearing lots of sunscreen and having lots of fun. Miss and love everyone <3 P.P.S. Happy Birthday Dad! Love and miss you. Hope Oliver is giving you lots of love. –Sarah Kirsh