Saturday, February 13, 2016

From the Revelle, with Love

Day 7: Somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean

After the initial flurry of activities at the onset of our cruise, life on the Revelle has slowed to a quiet lull. Part of that has to do with the energy sapping, cold virus that has been making its rounds through the science crew. My immune system finally gave out yesterday and rumor has it our chief scientist is the latest victim. The bright side is that we don’t arrive at our first station for another four days, so everyone should have enough time to recover.

Still, despite all the sniveling noses and watery eyes, everyone is in good spirits. The extended downtime has given everyone onboard the opportunity to bond and become more acquainted. For me, it has been a very enlightening experience hearing snippets from everyone’s life story. Even though we are all oceanographers in some sense, each of us took a unique and interesting path to arrive on this cruise. Even among our small group of CTD-watch standers, we have people hailing from all over the world. The places that we call home range from the pastoral plains of Kansas to the great expanse of Western Australia. Inadvertently, this cruise has facilitated a delightful cultural exchange. For example, earlier this week, the Aussies in our cohort introduced us to vegemite and were entertained by our bewildering reactions (my verdict on vegemite is still pending). A few days later, when the cooks served warm bagels for breakfast, we had the pleasure of introducing them to the wonderful world of fresh bagels and cream cheese.

Alison teaching us how to play Cribbage.
Even with all the quirky differences between our cultures, what struck me the most are all the similarities we share. No matter the subject matter, we always seem to find a common ground. Whenever someone shares an anecdote, at least one person always has a parallel experience.

One of the ways we socialize is by playing card games in the library. This has become my go to way of passing time whenever I am too tired to work, but too buzzed to sleep. The library, which annexes the mess hall (cafeteria), is the social hub of the ship.  I learned about a half dozen card new games this week, including Cribbage which has become a crowd favorite since Alison taught a handful of us.

The dashing Roger Relove...
It is Valentine's Day today and everyone woke up to a Valentine's Day card (thanks Natalie and David I mean Roger Relove). The cooks also offered us decadent chocolate treats to go with our lunches. It seems like the Revelle’s crew never miss an opportunity to celebrate. I learned that the cooks will bake a giant cake for anyone who has a birthday while at sea. Yesterday, Jim Happell was that lucky guy and everyone had their fill of delicious lemon cake. Even from my short stay onboard, I have come to appreciate that this floating research facility is a second home for a lot of people. These small gestures, as mundane as they might seem, really do go a long way in creating a home away from home.

We are currently getting thrashed by monster swells from a passing storm, but our vessel is built to handle much worse. Instead of showing you scary images of waves breaching our deck, I will leave you with the calming sunset we had a few nights ago.

Sunset from the Revelle's deck. Antartica lies in the horizon.
-EW

37 comments:

  1. That storm looked ruthless! Glad u r ok. from Duh Jackrabbit

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  2. How did the cooks make bagels in the conditions that you are in?
    P.S. Keep us updated on how you feel about vegemite! :)

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    1. I don't think the cooks made the bagels on board. We have a giant pantry in the ship's basement and I'm sure they have several boxes of bagels stashed away down there. Nevertheless, the cooks here are very good at what they do. The food has been excellent. It's definitely one of the best parts of this cruise!

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  3. How hard is it to get enough sleep?

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    1. It depends on how rough the seas are. If the waves are huge, then the ship rolls a lot, which makes it difficult to sleep. Our beds actually have railings to stop us from rolling out. However, if waters are calm, it's not too bad.

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  4. How do you cope with rough times at sea?

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  5. Ms M said You were a really good student!

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  6. Wow that is amazing do you get sea on the boat?

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  8. Ms M said You were a really good student!

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  9. That sunset was pretty awesome. How far were you from the antarctic coast?

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    1. We got as close as 145 km from the Antarctic coastline. We couldn't get any closer because of the continent is surrounded by sea ice.

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  11. What is the average tempature where you are?

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    1. It ranges quite a bit. When left port, the air temperature was about 40C (105F) but when got down to the Antarctic it got as cold as -10C (15F).

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  12. What happens when your socks get wet do you change them?

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    1. My feet stayed dry for the most part. I wear tall, waterproof rubber boots when I'm working.

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  13. How many much clothing did you bring?????????????
    :)

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    1. Enough for about 10 days. There is laundry on board, so we don't have to pack too much. The hard part was packing for both hot and cold temperatures. When we left Australia, it was about 110F (it's southern hemisphere summer) but when we got to the antarctic it got as cold as 20F. So everyone had to bring two sets of clothes.

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  14. What was your favorite day or night in this expedition?? PICK WISELY!!

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    1. There are so many great moments to choose from! I would say it's a tie between the night we saw the Southern Lights and the morning we saw that amazing sunrise with the icebergs.

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  15. Can you order Pizza from out here???

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    1. Haha, I don't think that's possible. But... the cooks onboard make amazing pizza!

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  16. What was your favorite day or night in this expedition?? PICK WISELY!!

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    1. It would be a tie between the night we saw the southern lights and the morning we saw that beautiful sunrise with the giant iceberg in the horizon.

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  17. Do you only get canned food??

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    1. We do way better than that. The food is probably the best part of the cruise. For a typical breakfast, we would get to choose from fresh fruits, yogurt, eggs (any way you like them), vegetable omelette, sausages, bacon, fresh toast, pancakes, oatmeal and sometimes biscuits gravy. For lunch and dinner, we have eaten just about every type of food you can think of. On Fridays, we usually have seafood (so fish and chips, fried oysters, shrimp etc.). Sundays we usually get grilled steaks with mash potatoes. On top of that there is always dessert food available. Over the past two days, we had apple pie, coffee cake and oatmeal raisin cookies, and cranberry scones. So yeah, the food is pretty good here.

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  18. To followup Gilmore's question about the pizza, if you can, then is it delivered by helicopter

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  20. if you could get pizza deliverd to you what place wood you deliver?

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