This SEA journey has been an amazing experience thus far, even though we are only on day 4 out at sea. The hours seem to go quickly however, the days are long, I often find myself looking out to the blue abyss, gazing at the sunset or sunrise. The watches are the most entertaining parts of this adventure. I have found a passion for working in the lab and collecting/analyzing data.
Although deploying a neuston net at 3-4 am (or 0300-0400, as we say on the ship), with waves that make the ship roll and almost knock you over onto the deck, can be stressful, seeing Critter TV (a video display of the ocean creatures from the microscope) is very satisfying. On that note, the most rewarding part of the experience, is the cookies at the end.
One of my favorite jobs at night, however, is lookout. Although there is nothing to look out for in terms of other ships, it is always fun to see nothing but bright stars above you. The waves here at the front of the ship make you feel like you’re on a never-ending roller coaster. I have yet to get my sea legs unfortunately, but I don’t think I’m alone in that boat (quite literally).
I have tried to structure this writing the best I can, however, the hours here are quite abnormal. I am awake to ensure the safety of my shipmates every day for 6 hours, with a 12-hour break. There is no boredom on board this vessel, there is always something to do and get done.
Like this blog, we are soon to start our research projects, due to the fact we had to get clear of the the Mexican EEZ. This allows us to do many more safe science deployments without getting in trouble with the embassy. I am super excited to have those started and to eventually be able to know what I am doing without direct guidance on every aspect of deployments and processing.
While out at sea and away from internet connections, I often notice the little things in life that I would otherwise walk past, like when to take out the trash. I feel very welcomed as originally a part of the Cramer crew and am proud to call myself a 305 crew instead. With the crew’s spirits high, family in our hearts, this is Kris signing out to sleep for 3 more hours till 1 am. Make sure to tune into our reality tv show called “Below Deck” when we make landfall. P.S. Happy Birthday little bro, I miss you very much, and I promise to call you when I reach Tahiti.
Kristofer Riddle, A Watch & Going to George Washington University Next Fall