Teos Bisbee's Blog

Collecting Water Samples On a Sunny Day
Mola mola

A Mola mola (or sunfish) gently passes by the R/V Thompson - they are the heaviest known bony fish. The other day we saw albatross picking parasites off of them as they wafted by. Photo Credit: Mitch Elend, University of Washington.

My First Fire and Boat Drill

Putting on an immersion suit is harder than it seems!

18 August 2013

Gosh, I didn’t realize that I had missed five days!! And today is the sixth…I cannot believe this; time just seems to disappear as we go along. And you know what? I like that—it’s incredibly relaxing, at least for me.

On the 13th, we were on hold for bad weather. It was fascinating to see the ocean like that, even though it was not too bad. I will admit that I was curious about what it was like at such times, and though it was not as bad, it was still extremely different. I had finally gotten used to walking well with the R/V Thompson rolling a bit, but then I had to get used to a new kind of rolling. Before my watch, I listened to the ocean while sipping some black tea. You don’t know pitch black until you are in the middle of the ocean with clouds covering the sky from horizon to horizon. Then your eyes adjust to the low ship lights, and it is amazing to see the expanse before you. I have really been missing out on life being on land for so long!!

I cannot remember much about what happened from then til now. I worked on my project, I overslept, I watched and hummed to the waves, and enjoyed breathing and seeing the horizon all around me.

And now as we transit, as I continue to work on my project (I forgot how long it takes to edit videos!), continue to watch the waves and hum to them when I can, and Friday was Poetry Night! I always love seeing the artist side of scientists!

Yesterday was one of the few sunny days, and I will admit, instead of working on my project, I spent most of the day outside reading in the sun (and finished my third book on board). Which was probably a bad choice, as I didn’t start working on my project until late last night…and went to bed rather late. C’est la vie! The sun was worth it! I did get to see some stars late that night, though only a patch right above me was cloudless. However, we did also see four dolphins race our boat in the front, doing barrel rolls and leaping out of the water—oh, it was glorious!!

I will try to write tomorrow, but hey, who knows!


12 August 2013

I missed another large organism—a SHARK of all things!! Which are apparently extremely rare…and I missed it again. Maybe I really should not sleep and just always watch the ocean! But no, I like my sleep. As I do tend to not hear my alarm, or I turn my alarm off in my sleep. It is very annoying as I try to finish my project on time! I see some coffee-filled nights in my future. :)

Otherwise, this past day has been rather uneventful. I helped with two CTD casts, which was interesting in re-learning how to gather a variety of samples, such as dissolved oxygen content and nutrients. And in between the hour or so wait as the CTD went through the water column, I watched the fish that seemed to randomly spark as they swam around. Yes, for a very long time! It was a wondrous dance that I wished I could have joined. There were also bioluminescent squid, and of course an assortment of jellyfish.

Earlier yesterday, I had actually seen the fin and outline under the water of a VERY large mola mola, but as us students ran around trying to follow its movement, it disappeared. However, to slightly make up for it, I was able to see the sun set without any hindrance of mountains or buildings. And again, oh my goodness!! It was gorgeous beyond words. It was almost like the pink-tinged clouds were straining to follow the sun as it set—though it was just a trick of the light, I know! As we actually WATCHED the pink-orange orb of the sun dip behind the horizon, the ocean itself turned a wonderful light orange-pink color, with the reflection of aqua of the parts not covered by clouds. It was what I might even call a “perfect” moment, if ever there was one in the world.

11 August 2013

I cannot believe that we have only 8 more days until we are back in Seattle!! These past 6 days have FLOWN by, with me having so much fun watching the water, sleeping in a strange manner, talking with such a variety of intelligent people, and so much more! I hope I will see at least 1 whale and one mola mola, which keep appearing when I am not around. That is, when I am sleeping. I also think I will miss the sound of the waves, the feel of the rocking of the boat. I am much more used to it now, and even enjoy my inability to walk. I will not miss my ever constant need to consume snacks though, or the strange noises that come near our room that sounds like bowling giants.

My project is coming along nicely, yet it has been cut down yet again to be even simpler due to time! But it will be done on time, so never fear world.

Yet because I have been working on my project, I am sad to say that there have not been many exciting things, except the random times I watch the ocean or the live stream from “my spot,” which has a nice view of both.

But now I will go take my leave, and watch and listen to the waves to rest my eyes from staring at a computer for ever so long.

To infinity, and beyond! ‘Til next time!

10 August 2013

Today has been a day of “riding the struggle bus,” as the young’uns say these days. I was trying to get the microphone for Emily’s camera to work (the one where one pins it to one’s clothing), and it took an extremely long amount of time and 3 people helping me [thanks Ben for finally making it work]. Then I tried to use the Espresso machine, and stood there for a very long time until someone walked by and told me I had not pushed a certain button. And I wasted all that time….but thank you Mitch for walking by! And not as importantly, I failed to hear my alarm this morning that was set at a little after 8 am…and ended up waking up 5 minutes before lunch started at 11:10. I was wondering why I felt so rested!

Speaking of which, I have had many strange dreams onboard the ship. Strange, VIVID dreams. It seems like it is not just a problem I have, but many others have had them as well. I wonder why!

But now my project is getting under way, and I am still slightly scared, as we only have 9 days left! How can time be going by so darn quickly?? So much to film and edit, and so little time…Coffee may soon become my best friend! In between, I will learn as much as possible, in filtering samples for DNA, more CTD cast practice, and so much more!

I hope you all saw the chicken in the live update today!

Until next time!

9 August 2013

I always seem to come across these little “signs,” if you will, that make me think that I am in the correct major of Oceanography.

The color of the ocean out here is the richest blue I have ever seen. If only a picture could do it justice!! I cannot even describe it in words—for how does one describe a color?—but let me just say it is GORGEOUS. But not only do I love this blue…it is the color of my favorite color pencil when I was a child. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Nevertheless, I do so enjoy sitting outside and humming/singing quietly to the waves. I will miss this peaceful feeling.

Yet, I again missed the whales, I am sad to say. Every single time! 

Also, walking in a straight line is a thing of the past. It is most amusing for myself, and to watch people, and even taking a shower is a work out to not fall on my face or in the curtains.

Otherwise, I have slept finally enough, yet I feel in doing so I have missed so much!! Tomorrow will not be so bad…I hope!

Until then!

8 August 2013

I am still learning how to sleep best on the R/V Thompson. Who knew it would be so difficult! The exciting things seem to happen during the day, when it would be best for me to sleep. So when to sleep is the question….unless I skip breakfast, but that is the best meal to me!

As we are now in transit and have been for a while, I am afraid there were not any exciting events. [Yet I aim to make a post every day, so it is best to get in the habit while I can, yes?]

However, I did narrow down my project ideas, and I think I am pretty sure what it will BE, just not how it will work out. THAT has been a relief; now to work on it for a long period of time every day! Stay tuned for updates. Furthermore, Ken showed me bathrooms on the main deck where I can actually reach the latch, so this was rather exciting news.

I was also lucky enough to spend a while sitting outside listening to music with my broken headphones as I hummed to the tunes. It was nice watching and listening to the waves; just me and the water. Let me tell you, the ocean is BEAUTIFUL with nothing else around, minus the stray boat here and there. [But still, brothers and sisters of the sea, please come and show your faces!!]

Though I do appreciate the calm as we are transiting, I cannot wait until we reach Axial Seamount and get underway with why we are here! Sleep is for the weak, anyway ;)

Until next time! Signing off at 1808.

7 August 2013

The R/V Thompson is REALLY not made for short people.

I can only see above my eyes in the mirror of my room. I cannot reach the latches for the “public” bathrooms, so I must go downstairs to use my room’s bathroom. I have to stand on my tip-toes to see if anyone is coming before I open the door (and even then I have almost hit people when I became lazy).
And going up stairs is a work-out of its own.

Yet two things are good for me being short—my bed is extremely comfortable, and now I know that I can fit inside a CTD.

“Why is THAT important?” you may ask.

Well, only after our little mishap when the CTD just broke the water…and then parted from the wire. Hooking up the new wire was fun in my new-found jungle gym! But still, that was a rather alarming experience. My tired brain probably was not as freaked out as I feel, in hindsight, I ought to have been.

Now you may wonder how my first watch went! I had TONS of fun, for I saw dolphins IN THE WILD for once!!! I cannot even begin to describe their majesty; their joy of just playing and feeding. [And no, no pictures, for the ones Vega took were extremely blurry. How can one possibly contain those moments in a picture anyway?]

It has only been the second day, and it feels like I can do this forever (and who knows? Maybe I will!) I love being out at sea, and am slightly sad that our time will be cut short. At the VERY beginning we were told that Leg 4 would not get back until August 28th, and now it will be the 19th. So short a time to do a project!! We will see what I can do until then. Time is a-wasting!

I also love the lectures that we have. Professor John Delaney had the “privilege” of being the first. There is so much information to be learned here from EVERYONE, and such stories!! I will forever remember that it is not about the answers, but the questions. And you know what? I will always ask questions. So pardon my ‘annoyingness’.

Until next time world! Signing off at 17:56.

6 August 2013

Welcome to the blog of Teos Bisbee! If you are taking the time to read this, I hope you will love to learn of my adventures! So an attempt at a brief summary of my time so far…

Getting onboard the R/V Thompson for the first time was incredible. I had been on a tour of it before, but with all of the equipment, it was much more exciting. I am lucky enough to room with a delightful young lady from Boston University, Caitlin (fun fact: she is more than a foot taller than me ).

I had also promised myself that I would first see if I AM prone to seasickness or not, by not taking any drugs and the like. Well, world….I am. Slightly. And you know how in movies it seems like there is barely any movement while ships are in the open ocean [at least from what I have seen]? Let me just tell you that they are wrong. The reality is much more amusing!

Learning what deck has what components on it and what exits has been a challenge, but I am proud to say that after only one day of REALLY trying to find my way around, I have almost perfectly memorized the layout.

Yet I am almost sad to say that there was fin whale sighted that partially circled the R/V Thompson…that I did not see. Of course, with my luck it would happen.

Lastly, it was amazingly fun to watch the robotic vehicle ROPOS get prepped and into the water. It took a rather long time, but who knew!! Standing in “mission control” after it had reached bottom, and watching all the bits floating by in real time—it was surreal. I am THRILLED to be part of this…and will share as much as I can in the time I have. My watches will be from 0000 to 0400 (midnight to 4 AM), so my sleep schedule will follow that of a cat: napping whenever she can.

Until next time!