This week at sea aboard the RV Thompson has given us a great opportunity to collaborate with other young researchers, learn the ropes of being a chief scientist, and conduct oceanographic research along the California coast. While we’ve all helped each other along the way, collecting hundreds of gallons of waters and many cubic feet of mud (all in the name of science!), the Thompson captain, crew, and marine technicians are really the ones that have made all our work possible.
While at sea the ship becomes like a small town, with each person working to help one another. Steve, Mike, and Darcy, the Thompson’s marine techs have helped us work effectively by helping us organize our labs and deploy our instruments into the ocean all while cracking jokes and showing us how to tie a mean bowline in between deployments. “Awesome miracle worker” doesn’t quite cut it as a job title, but it comes close.
The marine techs also work alongside the captain (Eric) and the mates (Bree, Lucas, and Maggy) to organize our cruise and get us where we need to go quickly and safely. As you can imagine steering a 300 foot ship is no small feat, especially when the wind blows hard and the waves get bigger, but the team up on the bridge have made our sailing smooth as can be. The captain is also responsible for the crew, who are also important in making our science dreams come true. The engineers and oilers, working in the engine room, keep the ship’s engines in top shape, allowing us to swiftly move between stations. The abled bodied seamen (A.B.) work with us on the deck, helping us with deployments while also maintaining the ship (think painting, cleaning, organizing, etc). And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the steward, second cook, and mess attendant have kept our bellies filled and the ship’s morale up by serving delicious meals three times a day. That, and cookies.
After a week at sea, working day and night, we have all gotten to know each other at our best and most tired, and had many funny moments along the way. Jelloed hard hats and glider wing sandwiches put a light-hearted note on long work days, as did beautiful views of the coastline, and an occasional song and dance in the lab. We’ve had a great week together in our little ship community, and we are all already looking forward to our next adventure on the Thompson.