Through Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, it was discovered that time is not a static measurement, rather it is relative to the observer. Somewhat similarly, time becomes both integral and meaningless while on a boat, completely relative to the scientist’s schedule. Time is integral to the individual with their stopwatch waiting for the precise second in which they can stop their experiment. On the other hand, we have been on a ship for 22 days where weekends are only a fleeting memory and days of the week hold no meaning. How can one keep track of the day?
Food. While some view meal times solely as a source of nourishment, meals provide one of the only consistent ways we can keep track of our day on the ship. For example, at approximately 6:00 am every day, the cooks will place a freshly baked pastry of some kind in the galley. This is deemed muffin o’clock and you will often hear excited whispers and guesses around 5:30 a.m. on what could they be cooking up next. Biscotti, muffins, coffee cake, and scones are just a few of the impressive things the cooks on the Atlantis, Mark and Carl, have served at muffin o’clock. This is followed by breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 11:30, cheese o’clock at 3:00, and dinner + dessert at 5:30. For clarification, cheese o’clock is when cheeses, crackers, and sometimes smoked fish are placed in the galley where scientists and crew can feast together.
Food alone can not keep a ship full of sleep deprived scientists being productive. One of the most cherished traditions on the ship, in my humble opinion, is Coffee Club. I can not trade mark this, for there are a variety of coffee clubs on the ship that meet in a variety of locations and at various times. Science, politics, and religion are all fair game at these times of replenishment and all are welcome. When you see an individual with incredibly dark bags under their eyes but a little pep in their step, you can trust they just finished with coffee club and are about to be productive.
Living and working on a ship for 25 days straight is an incredible, rewarding, and often strange experience. Thankfully, the amazing scientists, crew, and cooks work together to create a fantastic environment so that exciting discoveries can be made in the air and sea.
P.S. If I didn’t make it clear enough, special thanks to Mark, Carl, and Tanzy for the amazing meals and clean-up!
Written by Savannah Lewis