Walking down the halls of the KM on Day 1 of the cruise felt familiar for the first time. Now I walk with confidence around corners at which I used to stop and ponder before. I know the doors that are sticky and expect the sweeping rolls of the double hull chucking me from starboard to port. My memory of the watch routine – taking samples, labeling bottles, observing the meteorology – was a little rustier than my memory of the ship’s halls. I followed along behind Reagan, the volunteer, as Cammy oriented her to these tasks and paid more attention to her instruction than a veteran HOT cruiser should.
I became acquainted with a new part of the routine this cruise, which got me out of my bean bag chair and into my hard hat: tagging. It’s a bit like it sounds. The CTD and I play tag, except I am always it and he is always swaying back and forth trying to wiggle from my grip. Brett standing on one side and I on the other, we tame the swings of the CTD until we’re told to slip our lines and let the CTD take the plunge. After an intermission of bottle labeling or meteorological observations, Tagging, Act II, begins. In Act II the plot thickens with the introduction of a new character: the claw extension. Known more generically as a hook on the end of a pole, in my hands it feels like an extension of my arm in claw-form. Brett and I reach over the railing to hook our long claw arms claw around the frame of the CTD and guide the CTD back on deck.