Things I learned on my first day as JWO (junior watch officer): it’s not as scary as it seems, your watch has your back, and when in doubt, the JWO survival guide holds the answer. It turns out calling the shots is a lot of fun, especially when everybody else’s goal is to help the JWO succeed.
Second mate Kirsten and second scientist Emily joined A-watch for the last phase of our trip, and Kirsten told us that we can ask her anything about running our watch, anytime (as long as we’re not on watch), even if she’s asleep, because the most important thing is making sure we feel prepared.
We practiced preparedness for more than JWO phase today, though. During afternoon class, we ran fire, abandon ship, and man overboard drills; I learned that an emergency supply of Fig Newtons is stored near each life raft, that the Fig Newtons have to get replaced every year, and that it’s tradition for the crew to hold an annual ship-wide Fig Newton-eating contest at replacement time. Unfortunately, it won’t happen during our trip, but we’ve got plenty of Tim Tams (New Zealand’s tastiest chocolate- coated cookies) to tide us through. (Not that we need the Tim Tams, either- when I called my mom during our port stop, she mentioned how often the ship’s blog posts refer to delicious breakfasts. To all the other regular readers who may have noticed this pattern: it’s because our stewards are incredible.)
Now that we’ve been underway for more than a day, sailing/motorsailing toward our next anchorage at Great Barrier Island, we’re all getting back into the rhythm of boat life, featuring recent visits from two pods of dolphins and an albatross. Yesterday, every watch got to plan out each member’s roles for this leg of the trip. I’ll spend three watches on deck, three in the lab, and two on dish duty. And that’s it. Six more watches after today.
Mom: I slept through today’s breakfast, but I’ve been told it was, as usual, delicious. In other news, I got your text asking what I want for Christmas… after we’d already left. But there is something I’d like, and it can wait until I get home.
Rouie: So far this trip we’ve seen tons of dolphins and a pod of whales, but nobody’s spotted any sharks.
Taylor: 56 days.
And to everybody back home who’s getting snowed on right now: Enjoy it, for me.
- Nicole, A-watch, Middlebury College