After many days at sea (not gonna lie I’m starting to lose count), I’ve finally felt like I’ve adjusted to life here on the Bobby C. Every day on watch is its own adventure, with its own set of goals, excitements, and challenges. And today was full of it all.
Today, B watch took to the deck at 0700 for morning watch. I started my watch rotation at the helm, excited for the day ahead and taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean around us. One detail in particular was sticking out to me that early in the morning: the heat. You could feel the sun’s intensity immediately when stepping on deck today, and I bee-lined for our on deck stash of sunscreen first thing before watch. But at the helm, I was able to admire the sun sparkling on the waves off to our starboard side, while a short-lived squall was dumping rain from a cloud off our stern. The watch before ours had been dodging some small squalls earlier in the morning, and I was glad we weren’t starting out our day wet. Thank you sun! After spending time at the helm, I went down into the charthouse to complete some dead reckoning on the charts to determine our position. Our mate Rocky then coached me through how to complete a VOS weather report to NOAA (“fancy weather”). It’s more detailed than the weather logs we normally do, and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to determine different types and altitudes of clouds we were seeing. After another rotation on deck, I was on standby boat check and got recruited to help with science as data lizard for the hydrocast. Our friends in the lab got the CTD carousel ready, and moments before our scientist Vanessa was about to begin commands to deploy, a few Niskin bottles THWOPPED closed. As the experts and lab hands were troubleshooting the dry fire and disarming the CTD, I had to quickly scurry down below for a boat check for the top of the hour. Coming back on deck feeling winded and sweaty from checking the engine room, I immediately jumped back into data lizard mode. The carousel was finally splashed, and I hurried into the lab to record the deployment info on the data sheets. Neusty the Neuston net was also deployed afterwards, and I data lizarded it up again. After the deployments came being on lookout out in the hot afternoon sun, cleaning dishes down in the galley, some sail handling to get the ship moving again, and then setting the JT and tops’l! And then another boat check before the turnover at 1300 for the watch change. I got back on deck from the last boat check feeling a bit woozy from the heat, and surprised at how fast the time had flown. It was during our end of watch debrief that I realized I hadn’t drank nearly enough water during the frenzy of the morning activities. I got so caught up in the cyclic excitement of the watch that I didn’t realize how the elements had taken a toll on my body (but I did re-apply sunscreen, so I’ll count that as a win). Note to self: never stop drinking water while in the tropics. I had my eyes to the sky today, and once I got over my dehydration spell, I felt accomplished at all the new things I learned, and at the routines that were finally sinking in. B-watch killed it today, all with the undertone of excitement for the upcoming equator crossing. I’ve been feeling very grateful lately to be out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on this ship full of incredible people. This has been such a wonderful time of growth and learning, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of our voyage has in store. By the end of the day tomorrow, I (along with many others onboard) may no longer be a pollywog! Fair winds and following seas friends.
Carla Szeplaki, B- Watch, Deckhand