My day today was a pretty wild one. This morning I had dawn watch (0100-0700) with my team, and we all immediately went to bed after to prepare for our next watch, night watch (1900-0100), that same day! Right before watch our amazing stewards Pam and Alex made one of the best dinners I’ve ever had of salmon with mango salsa and coconut rice. They received a lot of well-earned shoutouts at class the next day for it. As it was time to turn the conn over to Rocky, the mate on my watch, I noticed the weather started to take quite the turn. It was getting really windy, with speeds at near-gale forces. The sky was full of dark cumulonimbus clouds and the deck was fairly wet from the waves sloshing over the side. I was supposed to be in the galley for this watch but got too seasick so shoutout to Emily, our amazing intern from the Coast Guard Academy, who took over for me so I could stay on deck. I was mostly on lookout that night, but did it from midships instead of at the bow. The boat was rolling so far to the starboard and port sides that you could see the wave height surpassing that of the ship’s rails at times in the distance. I was very grateful for my foul weather gear, as I got completely drenched by waves we rolled into every half hour or so. Lots of dishes and mugs were sliding and breaking belowdeck in the galley, so we had quite the time cleaning that up as well.
My friend on watch Samantha’s reactions to the huge waves were priceless, and kept us going through the super difficult watch. While I was on deck, Rocky pointed out the different constellations that were up in the sky. It was so dark out and we were so far from land that you could see the band of the Milky Way Galaxy, which at first seem like subtly bright clouds that look like the steam coming out of the teapot constellation. Alex came up on deck from preparing our mid rats, aka midnight rations, and while we were sitting near the helm we saw a really beautiful and bright shooting star. It was Alex’s first time seeing one! When it was 10 minutes before turnover time at 0050, we talked to the oncoming B watch about how our watch went, and then debriefed about how it went and what happened. We were all super proud of ourselves for making it through a really physically and mentally demanding watch, and were super excited to finally get some sleep.
This shoutout is for my boyfriend, Michael, my friends back in Falmouth and Chapel Hill (shoutout to my lovely Kappa sisters), and my dog Merlin who I haven’t seen since December. I miss all of you so much and I cannot wait to share all these amazing adventures and memories with you so soon. And if I don’t get service before then, happy father’s day Dad! You are the one who taught me how to persevere through field work and to chase any opportunity that comes my way, and I am so thankful for your love and guidance every single day.
Siobhan Morris, A Watch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Oliver the baby octopus we found in our Neuston Tow!