Hello from Offshore Hakurangi!
Now that we have gone through a few watch cycles, I have started to develop a strong preference for night watch. For all the land-lubbers out there who haven’t experienced ship life, night watch occurs from 1900 to 0100 and is also twelve hours post dawn watch. In just six hours, we get to watch the sunset, the stars shine brighter than anywhere else in the world, sing out into the vast ocean in the dark on lookout, and complete multiple science deployments. We get just enough sleep to not completely lose our minds during night watch, but if we’re being completely honest, the night is always filled with lots of enthusiasm and delirium. Last night (actually, I have no idea if it was last night because the ship time warp is a REAL. THING.), Nick, Annie Grace, and I had the pleasure of being in the lab. Six to eight foot swells made it difficult to walk up the steep stairs to the lab for turnover, and all of A Watch was worried that watch would be the night our perfect streak of no one being seasick would end. Nevertheless, science must still go on, and it was the perfect distraction to keep our mind off the sea’s anger. After a notably speedy galley clean, conducted by the whole watch, team science began to prepare for S312’s second meter net tow to be followed by a neuston tow. With the meter net ready and the wire and J-frame on, we were ready to go. As we waited for Hannah to wake up Deb, Nick, AG, and I came up with some compelling Lab Haikus and an extremely interesting one-word story about a jellyfish and a whale. With two-hundred meters of wire in the water, our net tugged behind the ship for about ten minutes. Once it was time to pull it up, we were greeted with almost three feet of net containing pyrosomes and salps galore, glowing a bright, bioluminescent blue!! The bucket of goop we collected was filled to the brim, and everyone was in awe of just how much there was!! Directly following, we chucked the neusty into the water, pulling up lots more copepods, velella velella, and bioluminescent creatures. 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 bed for 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 am constantly 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 myself growing and learning. Rocky, during our watch meeting, provided us with an excerpt from the Tuning the Rig by Harvey Oxenhorn that I think is super applicable to life on the Bobby C: “[There is] a code of service: of doing whatever you are doing well. Not because someone will check up or will reward you, but because the ship’s very functioning assumes that individual commitments be sustained in private for the public good. So much of the pressure on land is toward seeking loopholes in order to excel; at sea it is toward refusing them in order to belong.” Everyone on the ship has a commitment to always do their best because we each have an obligation to look out for one another. As much as I’m excited to go home and reconnect with land, I will miss and cherish the little moments on my new home out at sea. Olivia Harris (Colorado College) PS Hi to everyone at home! I love and miss each and every one of you and can’t wait to tell you all about my adventures at sea! Mom, I just opened your Thanksgiving letter yesterday, and everyone on the ship is getting a kick out of the stickers! Also, you will be pleased to know that me writing this blog post is the most screen time I’ve had in weeks 🙂