June 27, 2009
56° 42.95 N
Today was a recovery day. Pat, Matt, and I, all spent from yesterday's marathon sampling, filtering, deploying, recovering, and filtering some more session took turns monitoring the sediment trap filtrations and catching up on sleep.
I showed some of the other scientists my Beaker photos that I have stored on my school laptop. Beaker, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's trusted lab assistant from the Muppet Show, is my chemistry class's version of Flat Stanley. Whenever my students or I travel somewhere new, beaker goes along for the trip. He then gets his photo taken at different locales around the globe. I started this tradition last year when I ventured to Scotland with my wife and mother-in-law over spring break. Since then, Beaker has traveled to domestic places such as Utah, New Mexico, Las Vegas, Disney World, New York City, Delaware and international destinations such as Mexico, Bermuda, France, Ireland, Spain, Costa Rica, and India. Now in the middle of the Bering Sea, Beaker will be helping the scientists conduct their experiments on the R/V Thompson. I will be posting photos of his adventures at a later date.
I finished my book on the 12-day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth. Prior to reading, I only knew Booth escaped from Ford's Theatre and was killed in a standoff with Union troops in a Virginia barn 12 days later. I was not aware of the other assassinations that were plotted to occur at exactly the same time that Booth killed Lincoln or how Booth was able to evade the Union forces for so long. I will now be interested to go back to Washington DC and visit some of the sites that played prominent roles in this story.
At about 20:00 Matt needed to take some time off from thinking (he has been on the Thompson now for six straight weeks and it is starting to get to him) so he and I made our way to the lounge for a mind-numbing movie, Zombieland. Matt watches this movie at least once per week while at sea and it served its purpose very well. Senseless violence mixed with dry humor proved to be the perfect escape from the world of Bering Sea oceanography. It was almost easy to forget where we were, except for the fact that all of the tapes, books, and DVDs on the wall would slam back and forth on the shelf as the ship pitched and rolled in the large swells that were building outside.
The storm that was supposed to hit us directly veered to south and we only received another glancing blow. I will admit that when I arrived I wanted to experience the wrath of the Bering Sea. It wouldn't be much fun to go back to New York and tell everyone about the calm, placid waters that I rode for four straight weeks. I needed stories. However, after experiencing the effects of two glancing blows, I am content with calm and placid for the remaining two weeks at sea. I will not miss worrying about getting tossed out of my upper bunk in the middle of the night. I will not miss getting thrown into the walls of the hallway while I try to walk. I will not miss trying to wash my hair with one hand because the other one has a death grip on the handrail in the shower. Calm and placid works for me.