Charlie Parker's Blog

Charlie Parker on Deck
Charlie and Colin Collecting Fluid Samples

I got to collect fluid samples with Colin from the Niskin bottles on the CTD for follow-on shore-based analyses.  Photo Credit: Mitch Elend

Charlie in Immersion Suit

First day at the Fire and Safety drill onboard the R/V Thompson, I got to practise the 'art' of putting on a survivial suit.

August 7, 2013

5:30 am

       At the beginning of my watch we were bringing a CTD on board and the cable snapped while bringing it out of the water.  It could not have been more than a half of a meter out of the water when it broke.  My first reaction was disbelief.  Did that really just happen?  The marine tech said he had never seen that happen before.  My next thought was if we were going to try to get it back or not.  My float deployment at the summit of Axial Volcano is dependant on a nutrient profile at the same site for calibration purposes.  If we do not have this profile, I am not sure if deployment will be possible.  However, I am hoping for the best.

        Today was also the first day that I am on watch. My watch begins at 4 am and ends at 8 am. To be honest, at first I thought this was going to be not so great but, so far it has been fairly lively.  This might change in the future, but I surely hope not.  Waking up that early was really not as bad as I thought...especially when the coffee is already hot and ready. I will say that, because my financial status is currently dwindling in the double digits, this cruise could not have come at a more opportune time.  Not having to pay for food and having a full kitchen with awesome cooking is absolutely wonderful.  I mean we had delicious halibut for dinner last night.

6:00 am

      Now gathered in the library is the ROPOS team, John, and some engineers and techs discussing the plans for retrieving the instrument; depending on if the CTD is on its side or right side up (unlikely), we have different game plans.  The most difficult point, either way, is the load transfer from ROPOS to the ship.  Once the CTD is out of the water, we will secure it to the side of the ship and then transfer the lift line from ROPOS to the ship's crane.

6:15 am
Heading back to the control room to start logging for the dive.  Wish us luck!

12:30 pm
After getting some sleep I have found out that the CTD is successfully on its way to the surface!

The CTD is back on board and we have taken samples from the intact niskin bottles.  I am beyond surprised that the CTD was able to fall 2900 m (9514 ft) and not be damaged at all.

Just a quick side note...the food has been so good.  I was kind of hoping it wasn’t going to be due to the massive decrease in physical activity, but I must say that I no longer mind and am always wondering what wonderful treat they will have next.

August 6, 2013


Four years ago is when it all changed.  I took my first oceanography course as a senior in high school.  During the very first hour of class I knew I needed to have ocean research in my future.  After being accepted to UW, I could not wait to be a part of all the opportunities I had seen while researching it.  Well, I am finally out at sea on board the ship that I have always admired from shore.  Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel about being here.  It really started to hit me while we were going beneath the huge bridge at Newport.   I strangely felt a bit of relief, as though all of my anxiety and excitement about getting ready to go out to sea for the first time had finally been lifted.  So began my first transit to Hydrate Ridge.  Although I did feel a little sea sick, at the time I could not admit it to anyone. However, I think I did not hide it well because I was frequently asked if I was feeling all right.  So I went into ostrich mode.  If they can't see me feeling sick they won't even wrong. 

Today we also got to put on our gumbie suits, which I must say was pretty fun.  I know we need to take it seriously incase of the small chance we do actually need them, but it is hard not to laugh when everyone’s dexterity is instantly cut in half.  We also had a meeting today about the expectations that the undergraduates have while on board and I am stoked for what we “have to do.”  I am not sure who else came out here, but if getting a close up look at ROPOS or getting to do our own research is something that has to be pushed on someone, something is not quite right.  Being out at sea so far, and yes even including the mild sea sickness, has been incredible and it has not even been a full day yet.  I start my shift tomorrow morning at 4 am and I enthralled with the possibilities of tomorrow.  Better get some rest if I am getting up at 4.  Goodnight.

August 4th and 5th 2013


The Thomas G. Thompson is an amazing vessel and I am finally on board.  We made the trip from Seattle to Newport and it was a beautiful trip down through Oregon.  Heading to the docks we could see the Thompson docking from on the bridge as we drove down to the port.  When I was on board I found out where my room was and threw my things in it.  At least that is what I wanted to do, but of course I had the difficult task of trying to find my room.  At first all the hallways and doors looked the same.  I could not even tell what level I was on until I went outside.  Once I got my bearings I liked to “have to” go somewhere else and it was almost like a self test whether I would get there on the first try or not.