In the next few days our program will shift into the next phase: JWO/JLO (Junior watch officer and Jennifer Lopez). Yes, we all have to take turns wearing that green Versace dress while operating daily lab routines.
In all seriousness this is the stage in which us caterpillars leave our cocoons of having regular mentorship from our watch mate and assistant scientist. Now we metamorphosize and become leaders on our own. This means all of the knowledge we’ve accrued as a watch of 6-7 people, both textbook and practical, is what we can rely on. We need to know what the next step is for every watch variation across dawn, morning, afternoon, and evening with regards to sail handling and science station setup plus data processing. We are now responsible for everything from soup to nuts except for operating the motor and expensive water sampling equipment. Eek! This is an intense weight but also a moment of affirmation that the blood, sweat, tears, and rope calluses from the last three weeks are not for naught.
While on lookout, pondering what I would include in my one blog post, I reflected on the way that SEA is Kindergarten and a university level field school at the same time. On one hand, there is an abundance of naps, Velcro sandals, sticky fingers from pineapple fruit salad, coloring books and contagious choruses of giggles. On the other hand, we follow a rigorous 18 hour schedule where we tag-team safety procedures, essential ship maintenance, and data analysis on behalf of professional partnerships with UNC, U of Hawai’i and the Smithsonian. It takes an incredible amount of trust and cooperation to efficiently keep the ship running and healthy. Our ship has a heart (engine), brain (navigation room), kidney (water de-salinator), tummy (galley) etc. and everyone has worked hard to learn and practice maintenance for every moving part.
To my incredible crew back in my home port of MD: Mom, Dad, Sam, and pups (plus all of the family that will inevitably see this in the group chat) I love you guys very much and am looking forward to seeing you in just a few short days. I’ll be the very tired looking and freckled brunette at the airport next week. Xo MPDubs
In good company,
Madeleine Wenger, C Watch, Cornell University ’24 Archaeology and Marine Biology