SEA Currents: research
Woods Hole and Looking to the Future
Despite all the research and social experiences I’ve had as part of the PEP program so far, the past couple of days of being in the program have me setting my sights beyond this summer and even beyond graduating college. Several days ago we took the time to attend a panel of WHOI graduate students working on their doctorates, to hear what they had to say about preparing for graduate school.
When our story left off we were anchored in Orona, one of the numerous (relatively) untouched island atoll oases comprising the Phoenix Islands. Today we are back underway, sailing under the four lowers towards our next terrestrial target, Winslow Reef. While I’m feeling slightly woozy from seasickness induced from being back underway, I will attempt do justice in recalling the beauty and wonder of snorkeling with the giant clams in Orona’s lagoon…
Living in the Moment
When I was younger I would travel to a new place and never think about being there. I would have an experience and not be in the moment, I would passively participate in a moment. I honestly lacked an appreciation of “the moment”. I didn’t know that as I got older, most of the people that I had these great experiences with would no longer be part of my life. I didn’t realize that sometimes there are perfect moments that might only happen once in your life. I didn’t realize I was having a perfect summer until after it was fall.
Woods Hole Adventure
This morning we had a voyage to Woods Hole to explore the ecosystem of the Cape’s water. We started the day with a boat ride. On the boat we used many oceanographic instruments such as underwater sled, a dredge, and CTD (which records, temperature, salinity, and depth of water). We used the dredge to get animals that live on the ocean floor. We found star fish, sea urchin, scallops, spider crab, jelly fish and whelk.
I don’t think there is an adequate way to write a blog that encompasses all of the events and emotions that have happened over the past few weeks. The SSV Robert C. Seamans doesn’t take her company through the middle of the Pacific Ocean without some testy moments and times of utter confusion. Coming from someone who has only sailed a small Sunfish boat and almost crashed it into a jet ski (hehe love you, Hannah), I never thought that in only two weeks I would be able to understand and sail a 134.5 foot brigantine vessel which is comprised of 86 lines; all the while living with 38 shipmates whom I’ve mostly just met.
Science is One Big Field Day
For those of us who like the outdoors more than they like cubicles, ecosystem science is a field of opportunity. When you study coastal wetlands, every day is literally a field day. Since we use a portable gas analyzer that both collects and analyzes data in the field, there is very little need for lab work. This means I can spend my entire day working in coastal wetlands learning about the way each site sequesters carbon.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Of course there will always be small miscalculations; running out of microscope slides, minor lab math mishaps, or running out of that one magical reagent you forgot about. Now these kinds of things are generally no problem, a simple run to the store or an hour or two with a pencil and paper can fix these. But what happens if there is an issue with the project itself? After all there are deadlines to meet, supervisors to answer to, and other people relying on your results.
Arrival at Kanton Atoll
Today was a special day for the SSV Robert C. Seamans and everyone on board, as we finally made it through our nine-day sail from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Kanton Island, Republic of Kiribati. Each day the temperature gets higher and higher as we approach the equator, but our spirits remain high, especially after we passed by Enderbury Island yesterday. I had never seen a coral atoll island before, and it reminded me of many fiction stories I’ve read about surviving on a deserted island, which was a little weird since Enderbury Island looked so calm and pretty.
I’M ALIVE, MOM!
It has officially been a week since we set sail from American Samoa! C watch was the first standing watch to sail the SSV Robert C. Seamans. The first night was rough as most of my watch got sea sick (I still haven’t gotten sea sick), so there was a lot to do for a small amount of people. Fast forward to a few days ago, my watch was back on their feet and feeling great! All of us have experienced the wonders of the lab and how to use all the equipment, which process the samples we take out of the water.
Hello from PIPA!!! (Mom, I’m alive) This is the official first blog post from the SSV Robert C. Seamans in PIPA waters, which was basically the whole goal of this voyage, so it’s a pretty big deal that we FINALLY made it.
Anyway, the theme of this blog is FIRSTS! As we officially wrapped up our first week at sea, today at approximately 1400, I have a few firsts I want to look back on.