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Notes from the Field

NAAMES-II Expedition: June 5, 2016

June 8th, 2016 by Kristina Mojica

I have the uncanny privilege of penning this blog on the very day that we return to terra firma. In other words, we’re finally back on land and you expect me to write about the cruise?!?  It is true that most everyone’s thoughts are bent toward home and whatever awaits them there (kids, family, friends, pets, etc.) and I’m certainly no different. Nevertheless, I will take this opportunity to reflect on few things that I will in fact, miss from our trusty mobile home over the last month, the R/V Atlantis. Indeed, there are many advantages to life at sea. Mariners have known this ever since, but there are subtle, more modern differences as well. For instance, it has been 26 days since I last handled money, keys, or a wallet. While these small things are necessary items to successfully navigate everyday life back home, they have no real value out here. No moments of “Where are my keys?” or “I forgot my wallet!” Our currency consists of good deeds and efforts to make the work/living space as enjoyable as possible. It’s easy to prosper when that is your measuring stick.

"How do these things work again?"

“How do these things work again?”

And don’t even get me started about cell phones. Being at sea is a bit of a throwback to a time (not that long ago), when not everyone had their faces buried in a personal device. Yes, we rely on all sorts of technology while out here, but there something not so offensive about it….but I digress … Generally speaking, being insulated from the continuous onslaught of [mostly bad] news is also a blessing in disguise. For better or worse, I haven’t thought about this year’s presidential election once this past month (insert your favorite presidential candidate joke here). That is not to say that I don’t care, or more importantly, that it has no bearing on our ability to be here, but there is more than a kernel of truth in the old saying, “Ignorance is bliss”. Overall, there is just less to worry about out here. For us , the passengers, that is. The captain, mates, engineers, and seamen worry about our course and our safety. Our food and shelter is well cared for by the stewards department. Life is easy……sort of…..

Now, in contrast to the enjoyment of getting home, there is actually a lot to worry about work-wise once we’re back!! Despite working 14+ hours per day, 7 days per week while on the cruise, we return to work having been out of the office for a month! There’s a lot to catch up on. Add to that all the samples that are being shipped home for further analyses and follow-up work that we have generated as a result of the cruise. Of course, then there is the planning for the next expedition in 18 months, the papers that need to get written, meetings, etc.……Well, it once again makes this life at sea seem so bad after all …..So, thanks for reading, but I had better get to work!……Wait, where’s my wallet?…

Written by Toby Westberry

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