Halfway to Axial seamount

August 11, 2013

Since this is my first cruise, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but life at sea has turned out to be fascinating and unlike anything I’ve ever done. I had never before been beyond the sight of shore. You can walk around the lower deck of the R/V Western Flyer and see the ocean from all directions. It’s amazing to walk in a circle and see only ocean, sky, and distant clouds, and hear only the hum of the ship and the splash of the waves as they pass by us. Our ship is like a little floating island. I’ve never been in such a remote place before!

We have quickly developed a little community. We do everything together. We eat all of our meals together in the galley. We share a couple of labs and an office room. Each of us shares a stateroom with another scientist. The rooms are small and cozy and have bunk beds, a small table and chair, a sink, and life vests and immersion suits just in case. You can see a picture of me trying on my immersion suit during the safety briefing in yesterday’s blog. There are only 11 scientists, including me, and we must all work together to make the cruise successful. The others have been very nice by helping me and mentoring me so I can learn necessary skills to be successful at sea.

We have been preparing sampling devices during our transit and coordinating our science plan. We took a few minutes this evening to watch the sunset. It is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen! It was amazing to see the entire sky light up with no obstructions like trees or buildings to block our view. I feel very lucky to be a part of this great science team and research cruise. I’m looking forward to our first dive tomorrow.

ROV doc ricketts

The ROV Doc Ricketts is prepped and ready to go for tomorrow. One manipulator arm is prominently in view in the center of the photo. Tubes for collecting long sediment cores are stowed at the right, on a rack that can swing out in front of the vehicle so the tubes are accessible to the manipulator.

doc ricketts' core tubes

The sediment core tubes on the swing arm include (from left to right) four tubes (two metal and two clear plastic) that are two meters long for use in the vibracorer, and two tubes that are one meter long that will be pushed into the sediment like we routinely do with shorter sediment core tubes.

Ryan Portner on exercise bike

Ryan Portner riding the exercise bike on the upper deck. Finding a way to get enough exercise when there’s nowhere to walk, run, or bike any distance is a daily challenge when on a ship.

sunset on Western Flyer

Watching the sunset from the bow of the R/V Western Flyer.

— Sarah Glancy