Squall Center

October 11, 2022

Katie Power, A-Watch, University of San Diego

This photo was taken during A-watch’s afternoon watch. Next to me is Olivia, Parker, Chloe, Izzy, and Krista(in order). We had been experiencing some light rain all day and were dressed in some of our rain gear.
October 11 Photo resized

This photo was taken during A-watch’s afternoon watch. Next to me is Olivia, Parker, Chloe, Izzy, and Krista(in order). We had been experiencing some light rain all day and were dressed in some of our rain gear.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
14° 22.2’N x 124°36.9’W

Ship Heading & Speed 
165° at 7 kts

Taffrail Log

Wind, Weather and Sail Plan
Squalls in the area with varying winds from the ENE. Motor sailing with the Forestaysail and Main staysail.

Description of Location
At the ITCZ in the tropics about 14° North of the equator.

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-305

It’s 2100 and has been raining since we got on watch three hours ago. It’s the kind of rain that would be refreshing in these hotter days as we creep towards the equator, but now that I’m at the helm trying to navigate the unruly seas, I want nothing but for it to stop.

Our Watch Officer, Krista, adjusts the ships heading to get us out of this squall to no avail. In the distance we see lightning illuminate the cumulonimbus clouds we had observed in the daylight, and all of us gather on the quarter deck for some coverage and to stare in wonderment. Olivia and I decide this is the best time for us to update our reality TV show, Below Depth, with a weather report under the lighting of our red-light headlamps. Our overdramatized bits keep us laughing until the next watch relieves us at 0100.

Today we learn that we have entered the ITCZ, or the atmospheric equator.

This line separates the North and South Trade Winds, with weather conditions we could have guessed from the previous night’s conditions that include frequent squalls and unpredictable winds. What we didn’t get to see on our dark night-watch were the beautiful sunsets and sunrises these squalls create. The layers of clouds create a depth and a mirage of colors unlike any other. I could sit and watch them forever.

I frequently have to remind myself as we learn about atmospheric conditions firsthand that this is school. When we identify organisms from a Neuston Net tow at 0100, I think of the alternative classes I could be taking back at my home university. How funny it seems to me that I could be sleeping back in San Diego when I’m at lookout in a squall in the middle of the Pacific. I also think of my family in these moments and wonder what they’re doing. I think of my mom and dad and their busy schedule, and hope they are taking time to enjoy a sunset for me. I think of my sisters hard at work in their first year of Undergraduate and Medical School, and hope they know I’m cheering them on always. And I think of all the love and appreciation I have for my family and friends. These are the thoughts that remind me that I can make it through any squall.

Katie Power, A-Watch, University of San Diego

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  1. Sarah Power October 13, 2022 at 18:07 - Reply

    What a unique experience- I miss and love you!

  2. Emily Power October 15, 2022 at 10:55 - Reply

    That’s a wonderful and beautiful post katie! Thinking of you every day and hoping for calm seas and smooth sailing!!!

  3. Justine Power October 15, 2022 at 10:59 - Reply

    You and your ship mates are amazing! You need to write a book about this trip . Sending love from Iowa. Love you so much❤️

  4. Margaret Power October 15, 2022 at 11:04 - Reply

    Katie, that is such a beautiful description of your adventure on the high seas! It really helped us to understand what your are experiencing on the ship. So proud of you and the other students taking time off from school to do this amazing research and help contribute to protecting oceans and marine life!! Hugs to you from afar and thank you to the Captain, Professors, staff and crew for taking such good care of the the students!

  5. Mike Power October 15, 2022 at 11:46 - Reply

    Love keeping up to date with the blog. Thanks for posting! Hope you’re getting some sun in between squalls.

  6. Nora October 15, 2022 at 13:55 - Reply

    Love the pic. Thank you. You are all brave ones!! Yes!!

  7. John Gridley October 17, 2022 at 08:02 - Reply

    I am so proud of you! What an experience. Just 1 year earlier cousin Brendan sailed the Pacific Ocean but in a slightly different vessel. The “Gridley/Power” name is closely associated with the Pacific Ocean as “Admiral Dewey said the Col. Gridley…”You May Fire When Ready” in the Battle of Manilla Bay.

    Please be super careful as the Pacific Ocean can be beautiful and scary.

  8. John Gridley October 19, 2022 at 07:44 - Reply

    Margie came into Chicago and we spent some time together (actually it was only the car ride to the airport at 5:15 am). Not sure what time zone you are in. I am so impressed you chose to do something so unique! I am curious what you use for water purification, some sort of de-salinator and something to kill the bacteria. Brendan’s boat uses bromates and perbromates to kill the bacteria.

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