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Journals 2004/2005

Laurelynn Brooks
Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, Washington

"Investigating the link between alkenones and sea surface temperature"
R/V New Horizon
July 5-23, 2004
Journal Index:
July 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12

      13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19

      20 - 21 - 22 - 23

July 14, 2004

As we drag ourselves out on deck at 0200, Terri and I are surprised to find a little sea bird hiding under the CTD. We coax the bird into a Styrofoam cup shelter and wedge it under the stairs because the CTD will be going over the side again. Soon we retrieve the CTD and fill the bottles for the incubation samples. Since we must rinse the bottles three times each, then fill the huge bottles, it is about 0400 when I finally get around to drying my laundry.

People are starting to stir and the deck is buzzing. Jeremy and Brian are giving directions for the array deployment. Jeremy hands me a walkie-talkie and explains that my job is to be the eyes for the Captain. I must watch the array line as it goes off the stern and communicate to the Captain its angle and direction. The line must not get tangled in the propellers. I think the Captain is either on the bridge or in the winch house, but I can not see him. I will have to rely on the walkie-talkie, so I test it out: "Stern to Bridge, Testing." Donned in hard hats and life jackets, Ida takes her place at the A-Frame Control, and Terri looks like she is driving heavy machinery (and she is!), as she operates the A-Frame Cable.

In my peripheral vision I see Fred, Richard, and Brian shuffling bottles around the deck. Jeremy gives me the signal to tell Captain that we are ready. And the show begins - only I can't watch it because my eyes are fixed on the array line. Behind me I hear footsteps, Brian's commands, and the capstan spinning. To the side of me, half-hanging off the stern now is Richard - and I wonder for a moment if he will be part of the array as he tries to hook a bottle on to the line as it drifts out to sea.

This surfer boy is the right man for the job, with his balance, strength, coordination, and ease at sea. Everyone fulfills his or her perfect role, and the array is deployed successfully. Awesome teamwork is orchestrated by Brian- I can hear him, but can't see him. I feel jazzed from it all. I sign off with the Captain, take off my life jacket and head to the galley to unwind.

With the hands of a massage therapist, Pol is patting and rolling out pizza dough, then spinning it in the air. Now, like an artist, he swirls some sauce, then decorates each pie with his vegetable pallet. I can hardly wait until lunch with the smell of pizzas (he made eight!) in the oven.

On the message board, we notice that a fire drill is scheduled for 1300, so we get our long pants, long sleeved shirts, hats, sunglasses and life jackets and gather in the lab. As we are waiting for the bells to ring, Eduardo gives me a piece of dulce de leche de cambia con nuts. The Mexican candy is delicious and a creamy caramel. He teaches me "Buenos deseos" which means "Good Wishes". We are all tired, but happy. Jeremy presents a safety talk about the different kinds of fire extinguishers, since fire is the main danger on board a ship.

The evening fades away as I titrate some more samples. Luckily they are all numbered and recorded in my lab book, since I can't remember what CTD cast they are from. Fresh air and the camaraderie of watching another Sea of Cortez sunset invigorates me and I motivate myself to ride the exercise bicycle while I listen to U2. I chose this music for the lines in one particular song...."Oh great ocean, oh great sea, we run like a river, to the sea". Then I go back to my cabin and rock to sleep with it playing in my head.

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