We’ve finished our work at Axial Seamount and are headed back to land today. The whole time we have been transiting back though our ship has been in the trough, meaning the side of our ship is being buffeted by waves moving perpendicular to us. These conditions have truly given me a new appreciation for the old phrase “getting your sealegs”. We literally can’t walk anywhere on this ship now without timing the rising and falling of the floor beneath us (otherwise you suddenly end up running downhill with expensive electronics or coffee in your hand).
From a scientific standpoint this has been an overwhelmingly successful trip. We had a science meeting last night to review what we had completed, and the list grew pretty quickly. People described either their personal research successes or the incredible public outreach that was done by making all of our activities on board this ship open to the Internet. I for one grew to appreciate the outreach aspect of this project the other day while kids at the Northwest Pacific Science Center typed questions to us while we were streaming live HD video from the seafloor. A surprising number of the questions asked about all of our backgrounds and just how exactly someone gets onto an oceanography research cruise. I had never thought until then that what I’m doing, and the classes that I take during the school year, could be fascinating to somebody who is still trying to decide what they’re interested in. These kids were fairly young I’m sure, but it is still an exciting concept to think that maybe we sparked an interest in oceanography in even just a few of them.