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.
Good Saturday Afternoon!
The dolphins are escorting us home.
Check out this great moment captured by Francoise Morison.
Wow! The Atlantis is headed home!
Hours worked: 25,000
Measurements Taken: Hundreds of thousands
CTD Deployments: 40
Coffee Consumed: OMG!
Men Overboard: 0
After the crews last full day of science, Tuesday, we spent some time surveying an eddy. Heading up that mission, Peter Gaube, one of the scientists on board. Gaube has been researching eddies for several years and has put together this cool video to explain the important role of the eddy in ocean life.
While the survey was being conducted we were headed straight into 35 knot winds. Mix that with some big waves and you have the best water ride ever! Here is a look at what filming is like in these conditions and why you should always cover your camera.
We are getting to that point in the trip where tired is setting in. The science team has worked incredibly hard. The physical and mental endurance required, to keep it all going, has me thinking Energizer can ditch the pink bunny and use the NAAMES crew instead.
I sat on the deck today thinking about home. Wishing that the roll of the ship would stop for a moment--just a moment. My body feeling heavy from the constant struggle to maintain my equilibrium. Then gratitude set in. I KNOW I will miss this. When I am sitting in Atlanta traffic, where nothing rolls, I will think about these waves. I will remember this day. A moment, when this rainbow painted the sky with its brilliant colors. I was outside, alone, in the North-Atlantic and it occurred to me I might be the only person in the world to set my gaze upon it. What a magical reminder of how special this moment is. What a gift!
Tomorrow the Atlantis will head to station 7, the last stop on our trip. I remain floored at the work that has been done. The interesting thing about science is that it can be cyclical or dynamic. The research on this ship may not reach our doorsteps, in a digestible format, for years to come. Or maybe, there has been a discovery so substantial that the world can’t help but take notice.
When you consider that the earth is seventy percent ocean, I’m not sure the when is as important as the why. How lucky we are to have people in this world bold enough to try and understand it.
I will continue to chronicle our journey over the next several days. We hope to pull into Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, as the sun rises, on December 1st.