December 15, 2008
There are many nationalities represented aboard this research vessel. A contingent of thirty-three scientist and support personnel are aboard including me. This may be one of the largest multinational teams to study this particular area of the Patagonian Shelf in such detail. There are Americans, Argentines, Italians, English, South Africans, New Zealanders, and one person from Bermuda, are all represented on this cruise. Several in the U.S. delegation originate from other countries such as Spain and New Zealand. They are all conducting many experiments that are related to the coccolithphore and other microscopic organisms. The crew of 33 does not include the crewmembers on board the REVELLE who are responsible on keeping it on course, on time, and working efficiently for the scientist. Last night we think we found the center of a bloom, which means there will be a lot of activity on board today.
This past Saturday with twelve days until Christmas some of the scientists were getting ready for the holiday. Most of us are thousands of miles from home and our families. The ship becomes our home for a month and those on board the REVELLE become our substitute family. Several decorations were brought on board and are now hanging in the main lab where most of us work sometime during the day. I am told that the ship will celebrate Christmas and a memorable time, will be enjoyed by all aboard. This gives us all something to look forward to as we also think about our loved ones back home. Daniel Valla from Argentina explained his countries Christmas traditions. In Argentina the family will get together Christmas Eve and have dinner around 10:00 pm which is a normal dinnertime for people in this part of South America. They may also have a cup of maté, which in an Argentine tea. Afterwards they will keep the kids busy while presents are set out and at the stroke of midnight in the first few seconds of Christmas Day they will exchange and open presents. Santa Claus is referred to as Papa Noel, and they also have Christmas trees. Learning about other cultures has been a great learning experience.
I share a room with Juan Ignacio de Abelleyra who is an observer from an Argentine Observer. He is helping to finish a report to the United Nations to help determine where the Argentine Continental Shelf ends, which allows Argentina to claim that area of ocean as part of their sovereign coastline. If nations can prove their continental shelf extends further than the international distance they can add 100 km to extend their boundaries both for international reasons and for mineral rights. Juan has spent much of his time on the ocean, first as part of the Argentine Navy and then working with the hydrography office in Buenos Aires. Juan is a great roommate and I am glad I was able to meet him and share our cultures with one another. Sharing in the cultures of others is one of the most rewarding parts of programs like ARMADA, it enlightens your heart and mind and reminds you that there are good people all over the world.
Questions of the Day: