Elise Littell Blog Leg 2

A picture of an in-progress drawing of part of the galley. the sketchbook the picture is drawn in is sat on top of a napkin that has a little sleeping person doodled on it. Credit: E. Littell, University of Washington, V21.
August 14: Sketches Aboard the R/V Thompson

I love it when we’re doing a dive and everyone pauses operations to take pics of a ray.


ROV logging is fun though I’m really enjoying my shifts (๑´ㅂ`๑)ᕤ

I am still haunted by the memories of the anemones we removed from the sheep. Anemories. Memoremones. If I sit idle for too long the sound and feeling of ripping them off the frame comes back to me full force. SO I HAVE BEEN DRAWING INSTEAD.

Now that I’m not seasick anymore (knock on wood, knock on wood, knock on wood) I’ve been able to get back to my project somewhat! The nausea ate up an amount of time that I’m not psyched about but I hope I’ll still be okay.

I! Got! So! Much! Art! Done! Today!! I also skipped the engine room tour cause it sounded like it would be loud 🙁 , but there will be a bridge tour tomorrow……but, also it might happen right when we’re diving at Pythias?? And I don’t wanna miss that. Successful day whichever way. I feel better now about everything.

I think I saw an OSMO in passing today. A celebrity wanders these halls……….

times I’ve almost called Isabella ‘Marisa’ for literally no reason: 3 times I’ve said ‘Han’, thought ‘Rocket Han’, and gotten Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ stuck in my head:

6 times I accidentally almost fell asleep on the deck (away from the railings – don’t worry Deb):

2 birds seen: 7 (or possibly multiple instances of the same bird. it’s hard to tell)

other boats seen: 1

bananas eaten: 3 and counting -how many bananas do you have to eat before you’re at risk of potassium poisoning??

Sadie Armstrong holding up two anemones that she’d pulled off the “sheep” junction box from the Shelf Site. Credit: E. Littell, University of Washington, V21.
August 13, seeing the Sheep

I WAS ON SHIFT FOR THE SHEEEEEEEEP!!!! It’s a big full junction box covered with anemones and I love it to death. The dive to the sheep has been going since my first shift this morning and now, at my second evening shift, we’ve only just managed to bring it up. We’re gonna ‘shear’ it (remove as many of the anemones as possible) once it’s on board. It’s gonna be gross :

“I have never been so excited to touch something dead!” -Kenny

Update: IT WAS GROSS. It was definitely a fun experience, good for stories, etc, but if I ever see another anemone in my entire life for the next 24 hours I’m gonna LOSE IT.

We all got super covered in anemone gunk and also got really good at removing anemones and also throwing them overboard. A…uh……it was like a seal, but bigger, it’s 12am, came to check it out.

Also the Jason was diving right below us so we were just showering them with dead/half-dead/alive anemones. We worked on that frame from recovery time (6:30??) until it got dark. I am so tired.

R/V Thompson lunch board, with a printout of a Risso’s dolphin taped above it and labeled “Today’s Visitors”.
Credit: E. Littell, University of Washington, V21.
August 12: Seagulls and Dolphins

5 senses
sight: dolphins!! twice today! one in the morning off the port side of the ship, once in the afternoon off the starboard side
smell: sea air and the water. a good clean smell that I VASTLY prefer over the inside air smell 🙁

touch: lots and lots of painted metal (hand railings! door locks! the bow! the deck!)

taste: pocket bagel (plain). Han mentioned choosing everything they eat based on how it might taste coming up, and I have to agree. I hope I’m able to eat some of the nice boat food again soon.

sound: its never quiet on the boat, which kind of means that it’s always quiet. It’s nice to have constant background noise. Way better than dead silence

There’s seagulls out here. I wonder where they land. Don’t they need land to rest on something sometimes maybe? Maybe they travel with us. Or, I guess, we’re not THAT far out from land, so maybe they can just make the trip out.

I’ve slept soooo much the last day (maybe to make up for that first day)… Every time I’m off shift all I can seem to do is nap  to be barely functional for my next shift. It doesn’t make for exciting blogging, but at least I’m stayin’ alive. (knocking on wood) hopefully I’ll be able to actually help with things on my off-time soon.

It probably hasn’t helped today that we’ve been mostly on the weather, or been in transit. Not much for anyone to do. I tried drawing some stuff on the bow, but it almost resulted in gastrointestinal disaster. More pictures are taken to draw from, the pen is once more set aside….


The Red Man: figure made of red and black cord on the high bay. Only materializes in the corner of your eye. Tall, bad posture. Friendly. Will hang out with you while you’re seasick

The Flayed Hand: neutral omen. Looks suspiciously like a red sea anemone attached to Jason. Also looks suspiciously like a single left hand that is clinging onto the rail.

The Black Angel: tiny. Black head and hands, white robes. Ascending upwards and trying to convince the flayed hand to come with it.

Oh! Mike just came by to say that we’re almost on site, so fingers crossed that we’ll have a dive to work on during shift tonight.

I heard a rumor that the laundry room is haunted by the ghosts of the platforms we’ve had to leave on the bottom of the sea…I think LV01A-old is among them now.

Sealions sun bath on a channel marker at the entrance to the Newport channel. Credit: M. Elend, University of Washington, V21.

August 11: Getting Acclimated

I am practicing being inside, eating, and looking at screens. I have not perfected this.

At the time of writing this, I have been utterly incapacitated by seasickness for almost 24 hours……….BUT NO LONGER!*

*knock on wood

*please I can’t take much more of this

Everyone has been extremely kind, even though I’ve missed 3 Jason shits and had to start a new life in the high bay yesterday for  5 hours. I can’t forget to give Andrew his coat back.

Here is a little song I wrote while miserable in my bunk:

when the up-and-down ship blues have got you down

            and you’re thinking you just want to up and drown

            when you can’t see that horizon for the fog

            and you’re out there feeling sicker than a dog

            oh don’t replace that smile with a frown!

            oh lift your chin so you don’t lose that crown!

            sure you may just want to die

            but instead you’ve got to try

            to not replace that smile with a frown!

I wrote it on hour 2, so it seems gruesomely optimistic now. If you try to sing it, make sure to put as much bluegrass twang into it as humanly possible. It also doesn’t have any music so find the notes with your heart. Also don’t try to sing it.


high bay

-can get there without having to manhandle 100 lb doors

-head is on the same level and therefore more accessible in case of emergency

-if you sit out there for 5 hours one of your leg mates will lend you his coat (I NEED TO RETURN THAT) and the crew will turn on the ceiling heaters

-if you are lucky you can also bring a chair out onto the deck part and it will be in both the sunshine AND the lee of the wind

-caution: if you accidentally fall asleep there your face may get sunburned

-most risk of being actively underfoot



-close to the water so the rocking isn’t as prominent if that’s something that distresses you

-tends to be colder and you may get sprayed by the ocean

-ample opportunity for a titanic moment

deck two decks above the bow


-LOTS of sunshine

-if you position yourself right you get sunshine and no wind (again)

-least risk of being actively underfoot

-if you sit there without moving for too long one of the mates may come to check and see if you’re still breathing

galley during off hours

-warmer than outside (nominally)

-friendly, anyone hanging out in there will probably say hi

-easy access to water

-danger of smells if your stomach is still sensitive

-the delicious scent of the coffee machine will tempt you even though you know that if you drink coffee right now you’ll keel over and die

-technically not allowed to nap there 🙁

My first (…..fourth……) Jason shift is in an hour, from 8 pm to midnight. It looks like the vehicle is in the water working instead of transiting up or down through the water column, so hopefully it will be interesting. I hear things got a little bumpy, operationally speaking, during a couple of the shifts I missed.