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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 22, 2004
Letter to the Captain

We are steaming home at almost eleven knots per hour, trying to get to San Diego before the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan enters the harbor. A small navy of welcoming vessels is expected to escort the new ship during its first homecoming, and we would rather get there first!

I feel bittersweet emotions about going home. I want to see my dog, sleep in my own bed, get back in a regular routine, and check out my teaching possibilities for the coming year. At the same time I know that I will miss this tight shipboard community. As I think of each person on board New Horizon, I decide to write a letter of gratitude to Captain Althouse, Marine Superintendent of the Scripps ships.

Dear Captain Althouse,
Thank you for the opportunity to research at sea aboard the R/V New Horizon. It has been a most educational and enjoyable experience - an awesome learning adventure that I will share with my family, friends, colleagues and students.
At first my focus was to bring the Gulf of California science (oxygen tests, phytoplankton productivity, etc.) lessons home to my students, but now I see that I can share so much more. EVERYONE aboard your ship is a problem solver. I have learned so much by being with your crewmembers. Captain Stein has been an exemplary leader in modeling a cooperative spirit. He brings out the best in people - his crew AND the science team. He helps us complete our science tasks and allows us to have fun doing it, in a safe environment.
Captain Stein was considerate to allow me to be on the bridge yesterday to get pictures for my class of the Man Overboard Drill. He calls me to the bow to see dolphins surfing and shares scientific articles with me. He takes time to watch the sunset, connecting people to each other and to this magnificent world. He calls people by name and makes everyone feel included. He praises people for jobs well done. He is an awesome leader and captain and I am glad to know him.
Chief Mate Dave made us safety conscious the moment we got on aboard. His directions during drills are clear, assertive and calming. I will model after him for my school safety drills. He takes great pride in his role.
Third Mate Heather is such a joy to have aboard. I am so impressed with her navigational competence on the bridge. I am thankful to see young women living their dreams and have taken many photographs of her to inspire my students.
The Chief Engineer, Ron, has been so kind. I really appreciate being able to communicate my shipboard experience with my friends and family. Plus, today I got a job offer via email! Ron has also helped me copy my photos onto a disk so I could share them with the other scientists. It is wonderful to see the team spirit he builds. Oiler Eddie is so grateful to the Chief for helping him overcome some language barriers in getting his job. Eddie is so proud of his role aboard the ship. I love to see the confidence the Chief has in Laddie. And can you believe this? I caught Will studying algebra late at night! I took pictures of this to motivate my students.
All the AB Seamen are precious in their own way. Matt was always on the look out for our hands and heads as we deployed the CTD (and kept me laughing after watch!). Bill and Joe are ever watchful of our safety. Bill even offered his colored pencils to me to draw with.
And I am sure I would have gained ten pounds if the exercise bicycle wasn't on deck, because Pol and Mark are excellent cooks. Pol prepares and serves meals with so much love and pride. He always notices how everyone is doing and I will always hear his voice saying, "Get some more, Skinny". It was wonderful to have fresh Mahi Mahi, marlin, squid and tuna! Mark seemed to enjoy whatever he was doing - grating carrots, baking brownies, and singing and dancing all the while.
I wish all my students could meet ResTech Jeremy. He is so dedicated to our safety, our science, and our happiness. I have rarely seen a young man so patient, showing us how to cleat the CTD line over and over, kindly explaining our roles in the array deployment and doing it all with such a happy attitude.
What a wonderful adventure in science and life! If I ever wanted to "run away from home", this is where I would like to come...and I am not the only person aboard who feels this way. Thank you from all of us for making us feel most welcome and for sharing your home at sea with us. I hope I can join this crew again.
ARMADA Teacher
Laurelynn Brooks

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