Saturday, April 14, 2012

One more day

As we approach Hawaii from this seemingly long transit, I find myself becoming more and more excited to walk on land again. There is no doubt that I have had a great time on the sea, during both the calm days and the rough ones, but all good things must eventually come to an end…unless you live in Hawaii. Apparently the fun never stops and people don’t age. Well, at least that’s what my watch partner Heidi says. I’ve been convinced to extend my planned stay of approximately 10 hours to another 4 days. Instead of getting off the boat and basically going straight to the airport and back to Texas, I’m going to stay for a week. That way I’ll be able to relax for a few days in Oahu and have a mini-vacation before I go back to the real world and defend my thesis in early May.

We’ve had so much down time on this transit to Hawaii that I’ve accomplished a lot of work. Besides working on my thesis defense presentation, I have read Wally Broecker’s How to Build a Habitable Planet and Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, and now I’m working on Robert Warren’s All the King’s Men. Every day at 3PM, Heidi and I compete against one another in paper football, and Tanya is the referee. Time usually flies by extremely fast most days because we are keeping ourselves pretty busy. I usually also download and read some new geology-related journal articles to keep focused on some science. Each day inevitably ends with some stargazing. The only light pollution comes from the ship but the nights are still extremely dark and clear. I’ve seen lots of satellites orbiting the planet and several shooting stars. I kind of wish I had a telescope, but the nights are still extremely breathtaking.

On a different note, a significant portion of papers that I’ve read related to marine geology or marine geophysics has invariably utilized a ship such as the R/V Langseth to obtain those pertinent data. At the end of these papers there is usually an acknowledgements section thanking everyone who took part in the cruise. I had an idea of the hard work that is necessary to make a research cruise successful, but it is another thing actually experiencing it firsthand. Each cruise is given an allotted amount of time to complete its objectives, so it is almost impossible to waste any time. These ships are on a tight schedule and as soon as one cruise is over, another one is usually ready to start with little time in between. Therefore, it is imperative to work as quickly as possible while recovering the highest quality data possible. I have observed nothing but professionalism on this cruise and although I won’t be involved in the post-cruise data processing and subsequent publications, I am appreciative of the crew’s hard work and demeanor. It has definitely been a rewarding experience and it was so much fun meeting my 30 day family. If I’m lucky enough, I hope to go on another research cruise at some point before I finish my schooling.

No comments:

Post a Comment