Location Latitude: 39 ° 16.453’N Longitude: 43 °26.804’ W
Time to station: On Station 1!!
This is about the time, a week in, when you start to see everything take shape. Tomorrow we will begin the science, the mad rush, a level of excitement matched only by the impending hours of sleep deprivation. So, what you live on are the moments and the rituals that help to create a foundation of sanity in the midst of it all.
Every morning I eat breakfast with the Bosun, Patrick Hennessy, he has been making science on this ship happen for more than two decades. We talk about the history and what this lifestyle has afforded him in moments of exploration and cost him in time with his loved ones back on land. He smiles when he talks about his wife, two grandchildren on the way and his plans for retirement. We talk about those parts of our lives that we miss most, how bad the coffee is (ok I talk about that), crazy dreams that come with the rolling of the ship and he challenges some of my ideas about the story we are writing…. I like that. Sometimes we just say nothing, but it is a morning routine that gives me something to depend on before the day begins. That is the thing about living with people in an isolated environment, conversations become intimate quickly; you find those people that will become your satellite family here.
The strange thing is, in less than three weeks, we will return home to the lives we have built on land. The family made here will become a memory, just a story we tell about an experience in time, albeit a beautiful one.
Speaking of those rituals-there is nothing here we look forward to more than the sunset! A time when everyone gathers to talk about the day, share in laughter and soak in the gratitude for the amazing journey we are on.
I love surprises, they give us the opportunity to dive into the unknown with unquenchable curiosity. Two years ago, I made the decision to leave my job as an Atlanta television reporter. I moved home to Massachusetts and found myself on Cape Cod with no job and no idea of what was next, no idea about the pure magic that was about to enter my life. A friend of mine called and asked me to do a favor for a small radio station where she had just taken a job. All I had to do was go to Woods Hole, MA and interview a scientist about a mission called the NASA_NAAMES project. That scientist would end up changing my life and perspective in ways I am still trying to find the words to fully explain. After a discussion about their impending journey at sea--an invitation to join them. Though, Mike Behrenfeld and I still disagree on who asked who we DO agree on the result--a fantastic partnership was born. With less than twenty four hours notice I was on a ship headed to parts of the North Atlantic that few ever see in winter AND for good reason!! The conditions can be intense! At the time, given the challenges at sea and my video equipment being limited to one tiny little camera . (RE: 24 hours notice) this blog became a way for me to communicate with the family members whose loved ones were so far away. Giving them an onboard look at the fascinating work at the hands of those they call family. Fast forward we are at it again!! This time as the scientists dive deeper into all that is unseen in our oceans--we will dive deeper into their research, the incredible sacrifices that come with that and the love that fuels their mission of discovery. The journey continues March 20th.....
The R/V Atlantis is an impressive ship, a 275-foot, steel-hulled research vessel operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.