August 4, 2017
A few minutes ago, I went out to stare at the night water with Julie, Deb, and Katie. We were searching for pyrosomes, but we found none. Instead we found twinkling lights dancing in the water that we surmised to be the bodies of jellyfish, swirling eddies made by our ship, a salp that seemed too huge to be real, and many other, more mysterious things that we could not identify. It took a while for our eyes to get used to looking into the water. At first, all we saw was a dark, shifting mass, like slinky black velvet. Then the view shifted in front of our eyes and it seemed murky, muddy. Finally, our eyes adjusted and we saw just a glimpse at a whole other world underneath the water.
Being on this ship has really made me realize how small I am. I knew that before, but not to the extent that I do now. If you have never done so yourself, you cannot imagine what it is like to spin all the way around and see nothing but pure, endless water. It is a feeling that is completely indescribable.
They say that you can hypnotize yourself on any small, repetitive movement. I have heard that the reason television is so addictive is because when you watch it, the lights and noise actually hypnotize you and make it harder for you to stop watching. I think this is why, from the beginning of humanity, people have been obsessed with the ocean. We have praised it, written poems and songs about it, turned it into art. I have learned that it is very easy to hypnotize yourself by simply watching the waves crashing against each other. Just like so many others, I am finding myself in love with the ocean.
August 3, 2017
This morning, I helped with collecting water samples for the CTD. I learned about and how to collect Oxygen samples, DIC samples, nutrient samples, and chlorophyll samples. I enjoy helping with things like this. I get to learn something new and I feel like part of the team when I am working with all the other students. It makes it seem like we are all a team and working together on a goal.
After that, I had a little bit of down time that I used to begin working on my project. Since I have never filmed or edited a video before, Deb suggested that I try a smaller project first before my meteorology project that I want to do. For this new project, I will be asking the students some questions and filming their responses. I worked on this until I had to go to the Jason control van at 1600 for my shift logging.
After logging, I spent some time talking with Deb, Julie, Katie, and the other students. I worked on my project a little more. In about half an hour from now, the students and I will go “pickle hunting.” That is, we will use a net to gather some pyrosomes for the scientists to study. This is important because these pyrosomes have recently popped up all over the Northern Pacific, whereas before that were only in the Southern Pacific. I can’t wait to see what we find.
August 2, 2017
Jason did another naked dive today, this time at Slope Base. I have found that I enjoy these naked dives more than any other dives done by Jason. They are the most exciting. When they do a naked dive, the Jason control van is stuffed full of people that all want to see what Jason will discover next. It is exciting to be amid this large group of scientists and students all eager for the next discovery. It seems like everybody else here enjoys these dives the most, as well.
One of the things that I was surprised about the most when the Revelle first set sail was how everybody works together here. I think I expected everyone to have and be working on their own projects independently. They do this, of course, but everyone also seems excited about what other people are working on and are always willing to give input and help. There is a definite sense of camaraderie here that you cannot find very easily elsewhere.
Beyond that, I am learning that there are jobs that I never thought existed. It is interesting to learn what people do for a living. Many people on the ship spend 6 months or more on a ship each year. I can’t imagine what that would be like. It seems like such a long time of nonstop work, yet it also seems extremely rewarding. Imagine living and working on the water all the time! Even being here for just a week has been tiring. There is just something about being on a boat that wears me out, which is odd because it is also extremely exciting.
August 1, 2017
Today, I learned how to titrate the oxygen samples collected with a CTD. We compared the different outcomes with the separate depths that they were collected at. I am the only one on the ship that has not graduated high school, so I felt bad that everyone knew and understood what we were doing except for me. Luckily, everyone was completely understanding and willing to explain what is going on to me. Even though I have never taken Chemistry, I was able to understand what we were doing and why we were doing it.
In fact, everyone on the ship is willing to stop and explain things to me. I am a person that is constantly asking questions, so it is amazing that everyone has the patience to deal with me. I think that the reason for this is that everyone is excited about what they are doing and wants to educate others about it. The more that I immerse myself into the science community, the more I think I belong here.
July 31, 2017
Today was the best day on the ship so far. Right now, we are above Axial Seamount, which is a dense hydrothermal vent site. Because we are trying to avoid bad weather on the coast, we were able to take JASON for a "naked dive". That is a dive where nothing is planned. Basically, it is an underwater joy ride. The depth was about 1550 meters the entire time.
Hydrothermal vents are beautiful to look at. They are covered with life, even though it is such an extreme place to live. They are covered in bacteria and tube worms. The area around them are home to spider crabs, rat tails, and shrimp. And because of the underground volcanoes that form them, the ocean floor is amazing. Parts of the floor look like an amazing labyrinth in an ancient, abandoned city. Others look like sand art that Chinese/ Japanese scholars used to do.
I am so lucky that I am part of this experience. I understand that this is a once in a lifetime experience and I still cannot believe that I so fortunate as to have this handed to me. Who else can say that they went out on a boat for 10 days and looked at hydrothermal vents? Not very many people. In fact, not that many people even know what a hydrothermal vent is.
July 30, 2017
Somehow, today has seemed like the longest day yet. Getting less sleep than I usually do for several days in a row is catching up to me. Also, I have noticed- along with many others- that time on a ship passes differently than time on land. An hour feels like two hours; a day feels like 2 days. It is nice in that I feel like I am accomplishing more in a day than a normally would, and that what I am accomplishing means more. But it also leaves me drained and exhausted at the end of the day.
Complaining aside, I am having a great time. I am learning more than I thought I would and I am able to talk to people that have all sorts of jobs that I had never even thought existed before, all of them passionate about what they do. Growing up, the adults around me always made it seem like when you became an adult, you automatically had to choose a job that you hate and stick with it until you retire. It is refreshing and inspiring to be around people who are excited about what they are doing.
July 29, 2017
Today was a day for traveling. We are headed towards Axial Seamount, which everyone on board is excited about. However, from where we were yesterday, it is about a nineteen-hour drive to get there. In that time, I have helped remove gear from a SCIP, or science pod, worked on my Outreach Project, and played games with the other students on the ship. Though it doesn’t seem like I have done that much today, I am exhausted. Somehow, there is always something to do on the ship if you search hard enough. From working on projects, to helping people with theirs, to watching the waves, being on a ship is always interesting.
July 28, 2017
Today is the second day of being aboard the R/V Revelle and I have finally gotten used to the flow of work and of the water. When breakfast rolled around this morning, I got ready and climbed the stairs to breakfast again. By now the act of eating with all the other members of the boat seemed more normal to me than it had yesterday. After breakfast, there was free time to do whatever people needed or wanted to do. Many of the students got together during this time to watch a movie and play games.
We stopped playing games to help with CTD sampling. It still seems strange that my day can go from playing Monopoly to collecting water samples. After the water samples were collected and stored, the students met with the Chief Scientist, Deb Kelley, and had a meeting about what projects they want to work on while on board the Revelle. While I am still unsure about what exactly I would like to do for my project, I have decided that I would like to learn more about weather. Hopefully, I can find a project that allows me to learn more about meteorology while sharing what I learned.
Again at 4, I went to the van to log what the JASON was doing on his dive. Today, he attached an SPA onto an existing PIC. To be honest, I don’t truly know what either of those two things are or what exactly they do, but at least I know what they are called now. I am learning more every day. Before, I certainly could not tell you that brittle stars actually prefer to live upside down. I can’t wait to see what more I will learn tomorrow.
July 28, 2017
Yesterday was my first day aboard the R/V Revelle. It was a full day; one filled with confusion, nausea, and thrilling excitement. I woke up at 6:30 am, a full hour earlier than breakfast. After getting dressed and ready for the day, I killed time in the library. It still blows my mind that a ship- one designed for hard research, no less- has such luxuries as a library and a theatre.
Once it was time for me to get breakfast, I headed to the galley and got what I wanted from the spread in front of me. I must admit that I was expecting hard, dry biscuits and salted meat for every meal, but that fear probably came from when I learned about the Mayflower in the fourth grade. More than anything else, getting and eating my breakfast in the galley cemented the fact that this opportunity was really happening. Before, none of it had seemed quite real to me, but the fact that my normal, mundane, breakfast had been replaced by this floating buffet made me realize I really would be living here for the next ten days.
I was excited when we finally set sail a few hours later. I felt fine for the first half an hour. After that, I felt a little dizzy nauseous. But by the time the safety drill was called mid-day, I was feeling terrible. Following the safety drill, I forced myself to lie in bed until the feeling passed. The feeling did not pass, but it got better.
At 4, I went to the “van” as it is called to log the activities done by the JASON ROV. When the JASON is doing a dive, all the lights are turned off and the van is only lit by the dozen or so screens that record everything from maps of the area we are exploring to what the JASON is doing by looking at what the cameras that are attached to him are seeing. With the darkness of the van, the rocking of the boat, and the feeling of importance that I get every time I go into the van, it made it seem as though it is a rocket hurtling through space on its way to a very important mission.
I went to bed exhausted, but excited for the next day.