Nanodropping it like it’s hot

April 15, 2023

Olivia, A Watch, Whitman College

Blog Photo 2 April 15_small

Ship's Log

Noon Position
8°49.5’S, 140°30.0’W

Ship Heading
354° PSC

Ship Speed
5.9kts

Taffrail Log
949.8nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Under fore and main staysails on a starboard tack, close reach, motor sailing rpm 1000, winds from the NW Force 2, seas from East by South 2’, skies 2/8 cumulus and altostratus

Description of location
Just North of Nuku Hiva, FP.

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-308

After almost two weeks of motoring and motor-sailing our way through the Tropical Pacific, we finally got the chance to really sail today! Setting the tops’l for the first time was really exciting, and good old Bobby C.

looked very glamorous sailing out of Nuku Hiva early this morning. As of 1900, I heard from my watch officer that we reached over 6 knots! As much as I enjoyed my brief visit to the Marquesas, it feels wonderful to be underway.

In the lab

In the lab

This afternoon was the Pin Rail Chase: a much-anticipated competition where each of the three watches tests their knowledge of the ship’s lines. My watch spent the last week or so reviewing each of the lines on deck, making sure we knew where they were, their name, and what they do. For the Chase, we were given a notecard with the name of a line, and we had to run and find it – kind of like a relay race. Everyone was cheering and high-fiving the whole time, and it was so much fun to join everyone in completing the last line: the conga line, of course!

I had afternoon watch today, and started it off by giving the deck a nice good scrubbing. It was a hot one this afternoon (34 C) so the cold water felt amazing. Bobby C. takes good care of us, so we take care of her in return – and I’m sure everyone belowdecks appreciated the boost in evaporative cooling. Then I got to do science! Lab is one of my favorite rotations on watch, and I finally did some of the DNA molecular work I’d been excited to did since I applied to be here at SEA. We performed DNA extractions on six myctophids – little larval lanternfish that are the subject of my research out here in the blue – and calculated our yield (how much DNA we actually extracted) using a NanoDrop. I’ve used this kind of instrument before, but I swear, this machine looks like it came out of Tron.

Complete with a magnetic metal arm that snaps satisfying into place and a ring of blue light that glows and pulses for no other reason than to add dramatic flair, it feels like I’m working with a little piece of the future.

(It also has an emoji keyboard for specimen names?) Anyways, we got some great yields today – big thanks to C Watch who did all the prep work this morning! We then used gel electrophoresis to determine the relative molecular weight (size) of the DNA we extracted, and saved the rest so that our Chief Scientist can use it for PCR.

Oh, and we also had homemade soft pretzels for afternoon snack today. Huge shout out to Tobi and Nora for making some delicious baked goods. (And credit to Noelle for the title of this blog.)

Sending love to my parents, Elle, Alistair, and all my friends back home!

Can’t wait to show you all the pictures I have of sunsets at sea – they’re really something.

Olivia, A Watch, Whitman College

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