This morning started off wonderful. I got my wake-up at 0600 from Jenn.
"Hillary. Hillary. Good Morning. It's Jenn. This is your wake-up. It is currently 0600 you have breakfast in 20 minutes and watch at 0700. There is an absolutely beautiful sunrise outside." A great way to start the day. I gathered my things, of course bumping into a few people and walls on the way; it's still dark at this point. Breakfast was yummy as always, (HUGE shout out to Cat and Gracie, they never disappoint). I ate some cinnamon raison toast with peanut butter and was ready for my first watch as JLO (Junior Lab Officer). Woohoo!
It was a fairly busy morning in lab. I started out by checking in with Chief Scientist Hilary, it's a deployment watch! We were planning on the deploying the Neuston net and doing a surface station to get some water samples (chlorophyll-α and alkalinity). My next step was to check-in with JWO (Junior Watch Officer) Maija on deck to make sure we were in the right position to deploy the net. After some expert plotting, Maija reported that we were ready to go! We put the net in the water, and 30 minutes later out came some really awesome critters, including a jelly! It's always such a fun surprise pulling in the net. Today was definitely a good day to be JLO.
Once I got off watch, I got to enjoy the beautiful scenery; we were sailing just off of the coast of Molokai! It had to have been one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. You could see all of the trees along the mountains, the peaks of the mountains just above the cloud line, and even a few waterfalls! The whales were definitely communicating with us too (I like to think that they are saying hi while they flap around in the water). As the sun began to set around late afternoon, I decided it was the perfect time to go aloft. I thought the view from the deck was great, I would multiply it by 10 and have that describe how amazing the view aloft was. The best part of all, the dolphins! There was a whole pod of them. There were at least 30 dolphins that were breaching the water. Assistant Scientist Amy (who is full of so much cool knowledge) said that there is usually 2x the number of dolphins under the water as there are above the water. That means that there were close to 100 dolphins swimming in that pod. SO COOL! Today was definitely a day to remember (as most days here are) and I am absolutely stoked for these last few days.
Before I go, I just want to add in a few shout outs. First, HUGE happy birthday to Mary and Eban! I know that they are both here on the ship, but in case any of their family is reading this, there was cake and so much fun!
Next, I want to thank everyone for all the support that got me here. I am having a blast! Shout out to Mom, Dad, Gabrielle, Jonathan, Grammy and Grampa and Daisy! I miss you all and I can't wait to see you when I get home.
Hillary McDonald, A Watch, Roger Williams University
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