The Most Surprising Birthday Ever

Author: Kyla Perry, C Watch, University of Vermont

marine debris makes its way to the wet lab

The colonized marine debris makes its way to the wet lab

Ship's Log

30°07.13’N 131°49.36’W

285° PSC

6.4 knots

Sail Plan
Four lowers and the JT

Stilllll cloudy (with a few peeks from the sun)


Description of location
North Pacific Subtropical Gyre

Souls on Board

Today has been an exciting day - to say the least - aboard the Seamans. I woke up grinning to the nice birthday notes taped across from my bunk in Sleepy Hollow - thanks A Watch! While on dish duty after breakfast, Cookie learned the sea shanty I wrote on lookout a few days ago and together we harmonized about waiting for the sun. Ah yes - the sun has still yet to make a true appearance, but the clouds are beginning to part more often throughout the day, exposing small patches of blue to remind us all that it still exists. For my birthday, I’m asking the universe for just a few stars later on dawn watch… please!! Despite the clouds, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the megafauna, giant moon jellies, and mind-blowing bioluminescence. The microscopic critters from many a neuston tows are pretty cool too; today there was a nudibranch (glaucus pacificus) whose appearance is very alien-like.

montage of Kyla’s birthday celebration

Montage of Kyla’s birthday celebration featuring shark, Calliope in costume, and Cookie presenting the garlic.

In addition to dish duty, I’ve spent some extra time in the galley cooking it up with Cookie - peanut noods were a hit. The food is quite delicious for boat food; fresh veggies and fruits are still showing up and Cookie is crushing it at accommodating for my weird dietary restrictions. I’ve also gotten the chance to do some work with the engineers, crawling around the engine room and fixing some leaky heads (toilets).

This morning’s watch started out with the excitement of capturing our first colonized piece of marine debris. Cap and I spotted it floating in the water, and Calliope and Milea happened to be aloft and helped direct Henry and Tadhg, who jumped into the small boat and motored out quite a ways to seize it up. Once it was delivered to the wet lab, everyone was stoked to see the dozens of crabs and intriguing goose-neck barnacles in which it was covered by. The research team studying colonization of ocean plastics seemed especially delighted.

After some sail-handling and science to finish up morning watch and another great ocean/climate/carbon/ group discussion this afternoon in class, I was surprised by the crew emerging from below deck dressed in elaborate costumes singing their rendition of ‘Colors of the Wind.’ Cookie presented me with a bowl full of roasted garlic and a hotel pan of DF GF rich chocolate cupcakes. Simultaneously, we had a “fish” on the line (finally, after casting the line out for a few days), which turned out to be a small shark. This was a first for SEA and certainly a birthday for me beyond compare. The sun shined down on me while I ate my bowl of garlic, and then receded again behind the clouds. I am now full (of warmth and love and garlic) and ready to nap before C watch’s next standing watch at 01:00… star finale… fingers crossed.

Some other random notes I would like to add: I’ve received an epic boat haircut from Torey and given one to Andrew, boat dreams are a real thing and a really weird thing, emphasis on Cap being the most legendary (what fun fact will he share next?), I painted with the ink from the squid that flopped on deck, and broccoli stems make for fun skeet shooting.

May more great adventure await S-299.

- Kyla Perry, C Watch!, University of Vermont

PS: I’d like to give a shout-out to my amazing, strong, cool dad for completing phase two of his DBT surgery today! I love you! And to my mom and girlfriend Grace who are also amazing. Snugs to Ziggy and Dziecko. Much love to land.

Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications, 508-444-1918 |

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