So Many Salps!!

December 3, 2023

Author: Olivia Harris, Colorado College

Me (Olivia) and Lucy right before watch turnover! Lucy just ate lots of pizza in preparation for night watch, while I was excited for my seating of dinner post afternoon watch.
S312_3Dec23_small

Ship's Log

3 December 2023Current Position: 39°29.658’ S, 178° 36.310’ EShip’s Heading & Speed: 220° (true) and about 6 KtsWeather: Cloudy (8/8 cloud cover) and drizzling

Hello from Offshore Hakurangi!Now that we have gone through a few watch cycles, I have started to developa strong preference for night watch. For all the land-lubbers out there whohaven’t experienced ship life, night watch occurs from 1900 to 0100 and isalso twelve hours post dawn watch. In just six hours, we get to watch thesunset, the stars shine brighter than anywhere else in the world, sing outinto the vast ocean in the dark on lookout, and complete multiple sciencedeployments. We get just enough sleep to not completely lose our mindsduring night watch, but if we’re being completely honest, the night isalways filled with lots of enthusiasm and delirium.Last night (actually, I have no idea if it was last night because the shiptime warp is a REAL. THING.), Nick, Annie Grace, and I had the pleasure ofbeing in the lab. Six to eight foot swells made it difficult to walk up thesteep stairs to the lab for turnover, and all of A Watch was worried thatwatch would be the night our perfect streak of no one being seasick wouldend. Nevertheless, science must still go on, and it was the perfectdistraction to keep our mind off the sea’s anger. After a notably speedygalley clean, conducted by the whole watch, team science began to preparefor S312’s second meter net tow to be followed by a neuston tow. With themeter net ready and the wire and J-frame on, we were ready to go. As wewaited for Hannah to wake up Deb, Nick, AG, and I came up with somecompelling Lab Haikus and an extremely interesting one-word story about ajellyfish and a whale. With two-hundred meters of wire in the water, our nettugged behind the ship for about ten minutes. Once it was time to pull itup, we were greeted with almost three feet of net containing pyrosomes andsalps galore, glowing a bright, bioluminescent blue!! The bucket of goop wecollected was filled to the brim, and everyone was in awe of just how muchthere was!! Directly following, we chucked the neusty into the water,pulling up lots more copepods, velella velella, and bioluminescentcreatures. Soon enough, at 1252, B Watch’s science crew came to relieve us(and count all 1700 (!) salps collected in our tow), and I crawled into bedfor the longest sleep I’ve had so far on the ship.Like many of my shipmates have said, ship life is no easy task. I amconstantly tired, hungry, or anxious that it will be the day I get seasick.Even so, I love my time on the ship because I can constantly feel myselfgrowing and learning.  Rocky, during our watch meeting, provided us with anexcerpt from the Tuning the Rig by Harvey Oxenhorn that I think is superapplicable to life on the Bobby C:  “[There is] a code of service: of doingwhatever you are doing well. Not because someone will check up or willreward you, but because the ship’s very functioning assumes that individualcommitments be sustained in private for the public good. So much of thepressure on land is toward seeking loopholes in order to excel; at sea it istoward refusing them in order to belong.” Everyone on the ship has acommitment to always do their best because we each have an obligation tolook out for one another. As much as I’m excited to go home and reconnectwith land, I will miss and cherish the little moments on my new home out atsea.Olivia Harris (Colorado College)PS Hi to everyone at home! I love and miss each and every one of you andcan’t wait to tell you all about my adventures at sea! Mom, I just openedyour Thanksgiving letter yesterday, and everyone on the ship is getting akick out of the stickers! Also, you will be pleased to know that me writingthis blog post is the most screen time I’ve had in weeks 🙂

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