Eat, Sleep, Lab!

June 14, 2023

Mikey Widman, C-WATCH, University of Maine

Ship's Log

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Taffrail Log (nm)

Light wind partially cloudy

Souls on Board

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June 14th started on not so bright but early. I was awoken at 00:30 to relieve B-Watch of the Night Watch at 00:50 and start the Dawn Watch. Dawn Watch, 01:00-07:00, is one of my favorite watches because the sleep-deprived nature leads to some of the funniest moments and conversations. My dawn watch was spent in the lab with Supi and Maya. We had a very busy watch. We processed Station 006 which was done by B-Watch just prior to our watch. Processing a station involves calculating pH, total alkalinity, and Chl A. After we finish all of the water samples, we move on to the Neuston Tow. "Deploying the Nuesty" as the scientist say is always a fun deployment. A Neuston Tow is a very fine net that is dragged along the surface while going two knots for 30 minutes. This allows us to have a standardized amount of water that each net travelled through. Once the net is recovered, a pristine and wash bucket is made. Our job on this dawn watch was to find certain species and anything over 2 cm and remove them from the bucket. We then biovolume all of the buckets to find how much stuff we found. We then do a 100-count, which a random way of count the first 100 organisms that we saw. Ours was, naturally so, full of copepods. We also prepped the carousel for A-Watch to deploy in the morning watch.  Despite all this early morning work, we were still able to watch the sunrise with the rest of C-Watch. The Dawn Watch Sunrise always makes the weird sleep schedule so worth it.

Sleep is also a huge reward for finishing Dawn Watch. You get relieved from watch by the oncoming watch at 06:50 and have breakfast at 07:00. Breakfast is usually silent filled with the occasional very sleep deprived conversation that makes little to no sense. Our sleep deprived conversation was lead by Jace. Jace is on B-Watch so he had the 19:00-01:00 watch. He came to breakfast with puffy eyes and look like he had not woken up yet. He started talking about slightly random stuff but the funniest part was when he was responding to a question, but waited to respond til he put a peach half way into his mouth and then tried to respond. It was a funny moment that was made way more funny by the group's overall exhaustion. All of this was done by 07:30. The day is still very young.I fell asleep until 12:30 and had lunch at 13:00, then relaxed til class at 14:30. Me, Sam, and Stella went around telling stories of our friends until class. Class was focused on our project and then we were given a hour ish to work on them. During class, however, a whole swarm of different species of birds were circling, swooping, and eventually diving and plummeting into the water. I was so distracted from class, as I usually am due to being on a boat in Hawaii, because I was so convinced that hunting birds meant fish, and fish meant something way cooler like a shark or dolphins. But duty called and I went to join my research group to work more on our project.  After study hall, out lovely steward Alex made smoothies for afternoon snack. After snack, I chilling on the doghouse roof and talked with Stella and Jace, whom kept getting called away for watch activities. This led up until dinner and then I had Night Watch. Night Watch started off with a bang, RAIN.  All of our Hawaiian showers have been light drizzles, but this was a real rain. We could see it rolling in and I watched the change of light blue oceans to dark blue oceans head towards the boat. Before I knew it I was soaked but the fun had just begun. The squall brought in a bit of wind which we desperately needed but it caused to strike the Jib. The Jib lives on the bowsprit and needs to get secured by crewmates going out onto the bowsprit. I was lucky enough to be one of the four to go frill the Jib. The rain passed and the sunset was behind the clouds but you could still see the powerful orange circle through them. Looking in a 360 way that only feels possible aloft or on the bowsprit, allowed my to see the prettiest view I've seen all trip. I saw other squalls in the area, I saw the one the just passed, I saw the sunset, I saw the cirrus clouds over the remaining blue Hawaiian Skies. A once in a lifetime memory.  That was the first 20 mins of watch. The rest of watch was very relaxed because I was in Lab again and there was not much to do. So I spent a chuck of my watch helping prepare for Stella's Birthday which is today when writing this. We made a jar out of a old Nutella jar and replaced the NU for an S. We all put sincere and jokey cards into the Stella jar. We also made a card and a crown for her birthday.  I am sure that the festivities tonight will be just as electric. Boat Birthday's are always a blast and I cannot wait for tonight. Towards the end of Lab we deployed a Newsty for A-Watch to process for their dawn watch.

My last 24 hours have been pretty busy but none of this feels like work. If I was at home and got this work schedule I'd be irate. However, here everything is fun, from late night water sample analysis to striking sails in the rain to the rocky and rolly nature of the ocean I love it all. There has become a bit a joke that might not be a joke. The next trip is a 6 week trip to Fiji and they only have 9 students which leaves room for a lot of deckhands. A couple of students are jokingly not jokingly asking about potential internship rolls for the rest of the summer. This trip has been so rewarding and I happiest when doing this type of work. I can really describe it and put it into words because I feel like even the best poets and authors' words would still undersell this trip and the feelings I have gained from it.Hi Mom and Dad love you both. Tell burke and grandma I miss and love them as well.P.S Happy Early Father's Day Dad!!

Mikey Widman, C-WATCH!!, University of Maine

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