Spring 2011

Our intern, Ali - an undergraduate student from Middlebury College, details her experiences from her summer with the HOT program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scientists and Cowboys

M&M’s and gummies did indeed get me through the end of the watch at 0300. From this experience, however, I have learned that I could probably lower the dosage of sugar from 5 handfuls of M&M’s to just one and I could limit myself to a baker’s dozen of those squishy little bears.  A combinations of my free reign on all thing bad for me and the 22 hours I had been awake made me this greedy and I hope to show more restraint in the future.

This restraint started today with apples and bananas. I even inspired my partner in crime (read: the person whom I follow around most often,) Dave, with the crunch of my Granny Smith to partake in one himself. Dave is an undergraduate from University of Hawaii working for the same project I am as well as working for OTG, the Ocean Technician Group. This means Dave gets to help bring the CTD and other instruments in and out of the water.  I don’t get to follow him around when he does this but I do get to watch.

Yesterday, the biology group, BEACH, an acronym that always evades my memory, put a primary productivity array in the water attached to a string of buoys and released it to drift as it pleased.  This evening we went to retrieve it by using the GPS coordinates it sends to the ship.  Several scientists stood like cowboys on the port side holding coils of line with giant fishhooks tied to the end.  The plan was to approach the buoy and have the cowboys lasso it in to the quarterdeck where the A-frame could hoist it on deck.  From the top deck, I watched the buoy come closer and closer then disappear from sight to the starboard side. I felt us reverse, and the buoy got smaller on the horizon. We approached again, but again the buoy ducked to the starboard side and we had to reverse. Third time’s a charm, right? Alas, the third time was a repeat of attempts one and two. The fourth time, however, was the charming one. Who ever decided three was the lucky number, anyways? Four leaf clovers are the lucky ones; three leaf clovers are dull.

As you might have surmised from my need for handfuls of sugar, twelve hour long watches are hard to make it through. Though it is often exciting to see temperature, salinity and other measurable qualities of the deep ocean being plotted on the computer screen in real time from the descending CTD, there is often little to do in the lab while deploying.  Sometime this open space leads to unusual conversation topics such as defense from zombie invasions, of which Dave is our resident expert.  Sometimes it leaves me time to catch up on my book.   Mostly I have learned that sitting in the beanbag chair is the worst solution to drowsiness at times like these and, again, I hope to show more restraint in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for gummy bears! They honestly should be voted at least a "minor" food group for young, sleep deprived college students.