I thought about calling this post Final Thoughts, but that might lead one to believe that my thoughts about the last 26 days are over. I am pretty sure, when I am walking down the busy city streets tomorrow, this may all seem like a dream...what a fantastic thing to dream about.
The ocean has always been a place of respite for me. A place to sit by the shore and find peace in the ebb and flow of the waves. So, it would make sense, at a time in my life when change was happening faster than I could keep up, the ocean would call. This time in a way that I could not have imagined.
I met Mike Behrenfeld, the lead scientist on The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) mission, 28 days ago. I went to cover a media event held at the Atlantis. I walked in wearing my high-heels and walked out with a twenty-four hour notice to trade em’ in for my sea legs. I was definitely not part of Mike’s five year plan to investigate the ocean and aerosols using both a 269 foot ship and a military aircraft. Without a doubt, spending a month in the North Atlantic, in November, was not in my plan either, but somehow it happened.
With the clock ticking, the next day melted away in a mix of packing and hunting down the right clothing. What does one wear when visiting 54° 06.4’ N, 40° 11.0 W in November? Turns out, you can’t really Google that sort of thing. With the journey coming to an end, I now realize that I never had time to consider whether this was a good idea or not. I would have said no. I am glad I didn’t.
The thirty-two scientists, onboard the Atlantis, are as varied, brilliant and connected as a box of crayons. Everyone of them shares an intense desire, a love for, almost a duty to discover the connections that create and support life. They have taught me so much about what we cannot see in these waters. I may never fully understand all that happened on this ship, but I know it was some kind of special.
We are all connected in this life, to the ocean, to one another. A never-ending interconnectedness that becomes so clear at sea. When we combine our efforts---the magic!! I hope this blog gave you some insight into life on a research ship, maybe provided a laugh and if nothing else, allowed you to share in the ship lives of your loved ones.
I am grateful to have spent time with an incredibly inspiring group of people. This has been a life gift I will not soon forget. Thank You, Mike! Thank You, Everyone!
P.S. I have put together a video to show you what a day on the ship looks and sounds like. When we get back to port tomorrow, where I will be able to upload a large file, I will post it here.