Sitting at my computer here, wondering what the best thing to write about and use precious bandwidth to upload, I am at a loss. There is just so much to say. Tales of misplaced seismometers, stories about the lives of the scientists and crew sharing this vessel, specs about the Oceanus herself, and all the little things about being on a ship that I never thought about until I was here. I rock from side to side in the ceaseless wave action that tosses our 177 foot vessel like a rubber duck in a child’s bath. What words can describe how it feels to be caught in the ebb and flow of our mighty ocean, no rest from her swaying, the sounds of massive volumes of water swooshing around you night and day? I think of how still the water below is by contrast. We live at the boundary between air and water on the rhythmic turbulence that ensues.
Between bouts of sickness, and long afternoon naps set upon me by the wooing womb-like feeling of constantly sloshing about (or maybe it’s a side effect of my seasickness meds), I have had all manner of engaging conversation with the incredibly hospitable crew and scientists who have taken me on as their guest. One conversation of note was with Bill Hanshumaker, a scientist from Oregon State University who works in particular with outreach, and studies the way adults and children learn from and interact with museum exhibits in order to improve what everyone can get from them. I am interested in teaching and science programming that appeals to a broader range of people, and Bill had some great thoughts and resources to share. He has a great enthusiasm for science of all kinds and a good sense of humor to boot. He has been collecting, examining, and documenting any living specimens attached to the seismometers brought up from their year in the great mysterious depths below. So far he has found a sea anemone, a bundle of isopods at some early stage in their development, and a sack of eggs. What will hitch a ride up to the surface next?
To conclude this post, I’ll share some things I have learned in my brief tenure at sea:
- One hand for you, one hand for the ship.
- Eat a light breakfast, there will be even better food at lunch.
- Know the locations of the life vests, but more urgently, the nearest bathroom.
- Everything can –and should—be tied down.