Every time I stand on the bow I feel like it will never end, and
then when I blink another week has gone by. Hello everyone, my name is Soleil Michaud, and my home institution is University of San Diego! I am currently a junior and studying Marine Ecology with a biology minor. But for the Bobby Seaman I am a stu crew in B watch (the Best watch). My other fellow stus are Grant, Mira, Satya, Sophie, (rip Susanna). We are currently sailing away from Fiji headed to Tuvalu. We have had no motor support (whoop whoop) for about two or three days. I honestly have no clue what is going on in terms of days. Sometimes my day starts at 01h and then takes a major pause from 07h to about 13h when lunch bell goes off. This has led to some major blurs in my timelines. I am however very aware of the hours of the day┘ every hour has a job, whether it be getting a lab hourly, getting the weather, logging our location, or the simple pleasures of life like sleep and food. Every hour has its own importance. The only hour that seems to get the best of me is bow watch; 10 minutes feel like 30 minutes, and an hour is like 3. It crazy to me how when you sit with your thoughts, you can have many many many thoughts before a minute has even passed (or at least in my experience). This is however a great time to contemplate every decision I have made in my life thus far. Fun stuff. (yesterday's major thought: how did anyone ever think the earth was flat). Lab on the other hand can fly by especially if we are doing a deployment. Today (which I found out was a Monday) as well as this past weekend has been a very fun one! As you may have read in previous blogs, we have had a few delays in our departure; therefore, delaying the start of sciences. This weekend we had our first successful (!!!) deployment of the carousel, tucker trawl, neuston net (hip hip hurray!). In a world lacking obstacles, we would have had a carousel equipped with fun and fresh instruments as well as niskin bottles that collect water at different depths, however the science would not be science without a few road blocks. Back on our journey to Levuka (I think┘) we attempted a deployment and found out that the sensor that tells the bottles to close at a specific depth were not working. Meaning zero (zip, nada, zilch) amount of water was collected (sad face). This led to lots of bolts and parts of the pretty carousel being taken out/apart, and no quick solution was found. So this time around when we deployed the carousel we put it in the water and then at the depths we wanted to collect water we manually attached niskin bottles to the deploying wire. Side note: the person controlling the wire is called a driver- this is a very fun job, It's like playing a video game but a little more high stress but not as high stress as actually steering Bobby C. she likes to do her own thing. The deployed carousel is measuring lots of fun data such as the CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth), PAR sensor (photosynthetic active radiation), oxygen sensor, chlorophyl-A fluorometer, a transmissometer (measures turbidity/particulates), and CDOM fluorometer (cromophoric dissolved organic material √ a specific compartment of dissolved org material). All big words and big actions; but it makes for cool data sheets. The tucker trawl is a deep-sea net (deployment depth somewhere around 300m) and a neuston net is a surface net. Both of these are collecting biomass, so basically all the tiny fun critters that the sea has to offer!! In last night's neuston net we collected (among many other things such as copepods) a very pretty fish that was named Oliver and in today's nets we got lots of adorable teeny-tiny little fishies as well a man-o-war. It is so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I am currently doing science out in the middle of nowhere ocean, and it is even harder to grasp the fact that I am getting to play at sailor scientist right now (never expected that combo). I have found so much peace being out here at sea. It surprised me that I felt more culture shock moving from Costa Rica to San Diego than from CR to a tall ship in the middle of the ocean. While things like the sailor's jargon and the number of lines (yesterday I learned it is indeed NOT called a rope) and sails I must memorize are extremely unfamiliar; our connection to the sea and the way it shapes our daily lives reminds me of home. Costa Rica is also near the equator so the weather, the ocean temperature, the sunset/rise is all very much the same as home. Even the 0600 wake ups (love you mum and milo) are things I grew up with. While not seeing land is different, when I sit and just look at it, it feels the same as when I am on a surfboard just enjoying the sea. The sky is also very beautiful out here on the ocean. Yesterday while on bow watch, I got a wonderful sunset, which lasted about 20 very long but pretty minutes. While that was going on I played at cloud shapes with the drastic shadows from sunset and saw a bear, fully perfect looking bear talking to a bird, like I said before, fun stuff up on bow watch. As for the night sky, very pretty :). I like the sky and all the twinkling little stars!!! I hope you enjoyed my tangent, Soleil 🙂 SHOUTOUTS: Dotty you are really missed out here. Raya: Hola ma, te extraсo much. Dele besotes a los chicos y la meow. Espero que tu semanita estuvo bien y que la pasaste super. Extraсo chismear contigo y escuchar tu dнa. Tambien ya me volvн experta en tomar siestas, si no estoy leyendo o trabajando estoy tomando una siesta jejej. Le podrias decir a lay y fran que los extraсo mucho. Dad: hi! Still alive!!, but no longer in fiji! I hope everythings good in cr, miss you tons! Mom, Dad, nana and papa: Thank you for supporting me in my crazy adventures!!! I can▓t wait to be able to get back in touch with everyone 🙂 and hear what is going on the other side of the planet hehe. If I happened to share the link w/ Erik, or Gunner: I miss you guys like crazy. I can▓t wait to be able to hear your voices and be annoying as ever. Love you fools. Soph: I am expecting updates. Love you and miss you more (period).