Powerful Waves

Current Location: 48° 46′ N, 128° 46′ W

From what I can tell, almost all PhD students experience times when one’s own research appears so small and limited that it is mistaken for being inconsequential. I myself have had this feeling on many occasions. Now is not one of those times.

What I tend to forget, sitting at my desk, reading journal papers in all their excruciating academic prose, is just how incredibly consequential waves become when you are actually on a ship. Anything that has the power to toss a thousand-ton floating building around like a bath toy deserves to be studied, probably by wiser minds than my own.

When you are at sea, you can’t help but contemplate the waves. They can make you miserable, such that you find yourself dreading each stomach-wrenching drop from crest to trough. Or they can keep you up at night, crashing against the ship’s hull with such force that everything onboard shudders violently, including your body.

Spending time on a ship without noticing the waves would be like spending time in Seattle without noticing the rain. You cannot ignore them. Anyway, here’s one picture from a successful day of data collection. I swear I will describe what we’re doing out here in more detail at some point.

– Mike

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