That’s all for now

I am currently sitting at my apartment in Seattle, after a final day in San Diego yesterday.  Of all my posts (27 in total), this is by far the hardest to write.  That’s not because I am emotional about being done with the cruise, but because I am feeling extremely lazy right now.  That’s bad, because there’s a lot I have to do in the next few days, and beyond that the next couple months.  But I expect, like this post, I will bring myself to get to all that needs to be done.  Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

It feels a little strange to be back.  A lot piles up when you’re at sea for 20 days (out of town for closer to a month), and a lot changes (why hello Seattle autumn, that was abrupt).  I have not felt at all “landsick,” more evidence that I have low inner ear sensitivity.  And of course, there is a little letdown that my world of science is away from the water and back to computer screens and meetings.  At least for a little while.

Which brings me to this blog.  I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about it, and I am extremely grateful for that.  Just the fact that so many of my friends and family (okay, so not really that many people) have read it and maybe understand a little bit more about what I study makes me really happy.  This is especially true because I am notoriously bad at doing the 10 second “elevator speech” about my research, so I’m sure a lot of people have gotten the wrong idea from talking to me.  Anyway, thank you for reading if you’ve been reading.

I will be taking a break from the blog, but all the content will stay up for a long time.  Hopefully, I will get to have some more adventures at sea in the next few years that I can write about.  I also have a few ideas about using some part of this blog as just a space for my own musings, but I’ll let you know.  For now I will say “so long” until my next ocean voyage.

- Mike

Last night on the ship

Tomorrow morning we arrive back in San Diego. Today we collected a final few hours of data in the morning, packed up most of our gear, and got a half-hour performance from this guy (humpback) after dinner:

It was the perfect end to a successful cruise. But man will it feel good to be on dry land tomorrow.

(Me grabbing the last SWIFT buoy of the cruise today)

- Mike

Not So Fast

We have been making great time on our way back to San Diego, averaging around 10 knots for the last two days. Our current ETA in San Diego is early Monday, giving us a few extra hours for data collection. We could stop today, except the ocean looks like this:

Pretty beautiful, but no good for wave-breaking measurements. Looking ahead, though, we expect 20 knot winds off the California coast tomorrow morning. So that’s the plan: take a few hours of data tomorrow morning, then pack up our gear and head back to San Diego. If all goes well, that will even leave us a few hours to spend at the beach before returning to Seattle Tuesday night.

- Mike

A Few Random Photos

A collection of pictures that never made it into a post:

What an instrument that has been in the ocean for two years ends up looking like. I’m told those nasty things growing on this Waverider are called goose-neck barnacles.

Early on we had a number of avian stowaways onboard, including this owl-ey looking guy (taken from our fourth day at sea).

A good picture of the daily, sometimes tricky, recovery of our wave buoys (taken by Jim Thomson).

A cool storm front over the ocean.

I have a billion pictures of this sunset, but here’s one of my favorites.

Only three days until we return to San Diego!

- Mike

Ship Entertainment

With 6 days of transit left in our return to San Diego, and most of the intensive science finished, I’ve been spending way too much time in the lounge:

The lounge contains a loveseat and half a dozen chairs, a television, and easily over a hundred DVDs.

You never know what you’ll encounter playing on the lounge TV. Off the top of my head, in the last two weeks (but mostly the last two days) I’ve watched: Casino Royale, Hot Tub Time Machine, The Life Aquatic, Zombieland, Stripes, Burn After Reading, Hot Fuzz, and episodes of the Walking Dead, Alias, Boston Legal, and, most random of all, The Twilight Zone. Between all that, I’ve finished only one of the five books I brought along.

We’re also beginning to dig into the data we just collected to see what’s of use and determine where to focus our efforts in the coming months. There will also be a good amount of work in packing up all our gear to ship back to Seattle. Plus, I have some assignments to do for the class I’m taking this quarter. But between all of that, more movies.

- Mike

The Grand (Data-collecting) Finale

Today was in all likelihood our last day of measurements before returning to San Diego. It was also our best day of the trip, with wave heights around 4 meters and winds peaking above 30 knots. Now, note that prior to all this we would not necessarily have considered this day that remarkable in terms of North Pacific storms. Finding 30 knot winds in October in the North Pacific should not have been akin to tornado-hunting, but somehow it became that way. In the end, we got what we were looking for: a range of conditions. We didn’t get the very upper range, but after feeling the ship shudder under the impact of some of today’s waves, I’m not sure that would have been too fun. Anyway, there are some great videos from the recovery of the buoys that I’ll post back on dry land, but for now I’ll just hit you with a couple still shots.

(Photo from Mike Ohmart)

(Photo from Jim Thomson)

- Mike

It’s What’s for Dinner

Don’t miss Sunday dinner on the New Horizon:

Not pictured: cheesecake for dessert. Before the cruise, one of the most common questions I heard was about the food. I have been amazed at some of the meals we’ve been fed in the last couple weeks. Our senior cook, Ed Lagrasso, has worked for Scripps for 26 years, and word from the crew is that he’s the best. One of the coolest things is how well everything has stayed fresh (almost nothing is frozen), considering I’m lucky if I can keep a bag salad from wilting for more than a week. Ed claims that this is due to the sweet refrigerator onboard the ship. For produce, he says that 30 days is about the max freshness duration, so we’ll be eating well right to the end of the cruise.

Ok, so steak and rack of lamb is a special dinner. A standard day goes something like this:
Breakfast: Eggs, omelets, bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast, hash browns, fresh fruit, oatmeal, cereal. Basically whatever you want.
Lunch: Usually of the “comfort food” variety, maybe grilled cheese or other sandwiches, burgers or hot dogs, soup, salad, etc.
Dinner: A serious meal. Italian, mexican, seafood, meat and potatoes, all well represented.

Oh yeah, and the desserts are awesome. Weight gain to be reported later.

- Mike