July 21, 2004
I wake up hearing my dog whimpering, or so I think. Then, realizing that Cooper is on land, and I am at sea, I listen carefully to the sounds. They are high-pitched squeals, yelps or chirps traveling through the hull. While drifting off to sleep, I have heard the water sloshing by before, but not these sounds. So my curiosity gets me out of my berth and up to the bow. I am delighted to see Dall's porpoises weaving across the bow and spinning alongside the ship, like synchronized swimmers. With no more CTD casts, and all the scientific gear packed, it dawns on me that this is a day that I could have slept in. I am glad to be up and take my cue from the dolphins - communicate!
The science team and the crew are more relaxed, now that the science is done and we are heading home. So I grab my journal for interviews. I spy Will and ask if he has any advice for my students. He says to "try your hardest in school, later you will be rewarded. You can start higher on the totem pole (with a good education); otherwise you start on the bottom." Will is our Engineering Apprentice and looks up to the Chief Engineer.
Greg is hanging out by the pop machine again, so I chat with him. He reminds me to encourage my students to "take lots of science and math - even though at the time these courses may not seem valuable. Once you get a chance to apply them in a job - you will be thankful that you challenged yourself with the harder classes. Challenges help you." Greg recommends his favorite books: The Silent Landscape by Rick Cornfield and Eternal Darkness by Bob Ballard.
It seems that Ida is always reading too, when she is not working on her alkenone project. She tells me that her favorite books are Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This is her first research cruise and she likes being part of a little community and seeing new things everyday. She sees the ocean as a valuable resource and hopes to work for a nonprofit organization to protect the environment someday.
The morning slips by with informal interviews. At lunch, the Captain tells me to get my life jacket and camera and go to the bridge. There I find Third Mate Heather reading charts.
As Able Bodied Seaman Matt explains to me how flags can be used for signaling, we hear the Captain yell "Man overboard!" and see him rush in and pull the general alarm. The Captain throws a life jacket, or Personal Flotation Device (PFD), overboard to simulate a person in the water. All hands muster quickly. Bill has dons his wet suit and is prepared to dive in. Pol has the stretcher, towels, and blankets standing by to treat the victim for hypothermia. I see the crew staring and pointing off to starboard as Heather steers the ship toward the victim. The victim is rescued in nine minutes! I hear the Captain comment to Heather "Nice job", and to Matt "Wise choice". Chief Mate Dave debriefs the drill with the rest of us, complimenting people for helping track the victim by constant eyes on the target and steady pointing.
That is our excitement for the day. The New Horizon resumes her course for San Diego.
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