Silly Scientific Sunday at Sea

December 9, 2023

Author: Anna Lynn Heine, Eckerd College


Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins!

Ship's Log

10 December 2023Current Position: 37'58.04'S, 178 07.874'WShip's Heading & Speed: 4.3 knots, 355 trueWeather: Strong Winds, Clear Sunny Skies, Cold

Landlubbers!!!Greetings from your beloved sailors in the South Pacific Ocean!We are happily far offshore once again, and have been welcomed back to the open ocean with 10 foot waves. Today began with all of us learning how to walk with our sea legs again. To be functioning humans on a boat that moves like a pendulum can be hilarious to say the least.  Any normal task takes twice as long, and while I will flex that I have not gotten seasick yet, I do feel my brain is getting shaken up quite a bit out here in these high seas. Sea brain is not a joke; we can all feel our sanity slowly regressing, in the goofiest of ways. We burst into random song together, make up weird accents, speak in single words without complete sentences, and say seriously out of pocket comments at the worst time. 40 people living on a ship in the middle of the ocean with sea brain gets ┘ joyfully weird.Somehow, under the spell of the sea, as we learn the ancient art of sailing our beautiful tall ship, we are also managing our school work and conducting our scientific research. Our first set of data tables and Ocean Data View / GIS maps are due tomorrow, so of course we are scrambling to complete them despite all of us having different watch schedules from our teammates. For those of you wondering what everyone is studying, we are collecting data on ocean acidification (that's my project with Leia and Lila), microplastics, zooplankton, weather, seabirds, and coastal runoff influences. We are also writing individual humanities research papers on various topics; mine is about how the indigenous Maori Community supports Blue Carbon in New Zealand.This learning experience has absolutely changed my life and perspective, and I know everyone around me can say the same. Every time we reel in a science deployment and process data in the lab, we are reminded that there is far more out in the ocean than we could ever imagine. Being on a tall ship and literally using the wind to travel gives us such an advantage to get up close and personal with the ocean around us. We have seriously seen so many dolphins; I'm talking hundreds of dolphins within a few feet away, showing off and speaking to us in ways that only Mother Nature can.While we all miss being with our loved ones for the holiday season, we are in still in full celebration mode. Every night we have been celebrating Hanukkah by lighting the menorah at sunset and saying a prayer led by Lev! We also have holiday lights hung around the ship, along with everyone's (hopefully) clean pair of stocks hung as Christmas stockings for us all to fill with ship-made goodies and notes. And, the other day I was the student steward with the incredible Ashley and Morgan (which was yes, ladies and gentlemen, three Gemini's in the galley), and of course kept it festive and made iced gingerbread cookies from scratch for evening snack.I, along with Aly and Winslow, cannot believe that we get to officially graduate college here with SEA, in the middle of the ocean. Life is happening so so fast, but also time doesn't even exist out here, which makes it even harder to believe. Ahhhhh! Don't worry though, there is no stress, only learning and living in these incredible moments.Our group has definitely become family, and we all feel so grateful to continue growing together during this insane trip and beyond. As we come up on our final weeks together and on the ship, every now and then between fits of laughter, we tear up because this trip, program, and group has truly been incredible and we know we will be looking back on it all too soon. While we have learned about and seen the some of the most heartbreaking impacts of climate change on this trip, solutions and stories of healing also remind us that the Earth is resilient and full of hope. The story of our planet and our species is reflected in the ocean, just as it is within us.The biggest of shout outs to my incredible parents, I love and miss you so much. Mommy good luck on the surgery, you are so strong I love you, be with you soon! Dad, please remember to take care of yourself as much as you take care of us.Shout out to my legendary grandfather, love you hope you are feeling well. Thank you for every lesson ever.Shout out to the Heine and Myers Family┘ love and miss you all, I have so many stories to tell.Aries, I cannot wait for our conversations and more adventures; love and miss you infinitely!Grace, we will talk soon! Love and miss you sister.Also shout out to Janet (Jenna's mom) and Eileen (Davi's mom); your daughters are inspiring and beautiful and keeping us sane. This trip wouldn't be the same without them.To all my fellow climate activists getting ready for COP28, I love you guys, am proudly with you in spirit, and am sending you all the healing ocean energy and power.And other readers┘ please prepare to vote for our planet and people. Our climate and society need your action and voice just as much as ours.With lots of love and gratitude,Anna Lynn HeineEckerd CollegeB Watch

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