Guest Blog: Stories From the Sea

Recent UW graduate and new UW employee Rachel Scott on the bow of the R/V Atlantis during another beautiful day on the VISIONS ’19 OOI cruise. Credit: R. Scott, V19

There are stories all around. If you listen and look they might just unravel around you, as they are always drifting about exposing some of the wonders of the ocean and boat life alike. Conversations of dives with the ROV Jason, current and past; clicks of the ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) tells of transit and reveals the seafloor’s true self, not the empty expanse that many imagine; exchanges in hallways, over radios, across the dinner table, even up and down ladders. Even the silent soar of albatross is a snapshot of a story, one that crosses oceans.

Of all the stories, tales, and epics I’ve heard, there are many that often wander through my mind. All have uncanny similarities to mine, yet stark differences, both building the strange journey that brought them to sea, to this particular boat.

The R/V Atlantis crow’s nest partially eclipses the sun on a beautiful day on the Pacific Ocean during the VISIONS ’19 cruise. Credit: R. Scott, V19

One that recently joined my collection was from a woman who travels with the ROV Jason and its team. She talked of the life she’d had in undergraduate as a coastal biologist, spending her time at marine research stations and in Alaska with seabirds. She eventually found her footing in the world of autonomous gliders and traveled the world visiting all 7 continents before she turned 30 (yes, even Antarctica! She spent approximately 2 years there). She then spoke of a series of ‘unfortunate events’ that pushed her away from that realm, leaving her to find a new one… the world of Jason and ROV operations. Her story had resonance. A story of elation and trials. A story of her, inspiring me and forcing me to remember I am where I am, and I’ll get where I’m going, wherever that may be.

This is why I cherish being at sea, boat life, and the ocean in general – for the stories. The tales from others that I carry with me, for me, to remind me of the family that waits on the high seas. A family of individuals alike and different in many ways, allowing a place for those that listen and look to stories from the sea.

By: Rachel Scott (University of Washington)