On most ships, the captain and crew use a watch system to make sure there are always people awake to safely operate the vessel and maintain productivity. Scientific crew typically does the same thing. Because this cruise is more exploratory with a wide variety of research operations, our watches are a little more free form than usual. Nevertheless, we need to keep the science going 24-7, and to make this happen we have essentially split our operations into two periods and activities. The day shift, led by Reide, is focusing on water-column and seabed sampling. At night we have a skeleton group for seafloor mapping and sub-bottom and current profiling.
The ship at night is quiet. It’s peaceful, but it also can be downright painful. After 8 hours, watching a computer screen at 5 AM can be grueling… and this will drive those on watch a little batty. In an effort to keep alert we’ll analyze data, talk, eat, play music, write computer code, make jokes and, of course, drink coffee. While oceanographic research is often very interesting, the ocean is big, and gathering data can be mind-numbing. It’s helpful to have creative and fun folks around to make the long hours a little more entertaining.
4:19 AM: Trip takes a break from writing Matlab code to proces ADCP data.
4:22 AM: Keith keeps "cleaning" multibeam data.
4:21 AM: J.P. pretends to type on computer while watching multibeam data.
6:28 AM: The sun starts to rise. Another ship is on the horizon.
6:42 AM: Day is breaking. Dinner (breakfast) is almost ready!