The library is packed to capacity as the science team convenes for our daily meeting. We sit, some in comfy chairs, some two to a comfy chair, and some on the floor. We crane our necks towards a projector screen. For the first time in days nearly all of us are in the same room together at one time, and there is a sense of camaraderie.
As you may know, we are heading back to Woods Hole after days and nights of feverish sampling. You can usually find someone in the entertainment room watching a movie. Last night it was the classic The Princess Bride. Our job is not over. We are still running experiments, which will end just shortly before we reach shore. Oceanic and aerosol data is being processed, although some analysis will have to wait until we reach shore. At the same time, we are starting to dismantle and pack up any equipment we can. Once we reach shore, in a similar frenzy to how sampling first started, I imagine we will swiftly jump into action to get equipment loaded off the ship so that we may head home sooner.
This is my first research cruise, and every day is a new experience. At each station, I measured dissolved oxygen from the Rosette using a titration system, aka Titration Station, provided by Woods Hole. A computer program controls the titration for the most part, instead of the traditional method of pipetting drop by drop until a color change occurs. It can still be a daunting task when the ship is pitching and rolling about.
We push back the clocks one hour tonight, so that ship time will be the same as the East Coast. With each day bringing us a little closer to Woods Hole, we realize our time on the R/V Atlantis is nearly at an end.
Written by Stephanie Ayres