"Where's the next point?" That's a question the Chief Scientist hears a lot throughout a cruise. As Chief Scientist, it is your responsibility to make sure all tasks are being completed and that the captain and crew remain informed with the science plan…which changes almost daily!
Don't get me wrong…the Chief Scientist isn't doing this alone! It takes a good team to make sure a cruise goes smoothly. So, I am trying to always talk with the other lead scientist about the plans for the next several hours. As new data comes in, we assess what we have learned and plan the next several hours. That's not to say we didn't put together a fairly detailed science schedule prior to the cruise...we did!! I worked out a plan for each day, literally down to the hour we would move to the next science task, next sampling area, and back to port (see the first map). I knew it would change, but it is important to make sure everyone has an idea what is planned on the cruise prior to arriving at the ship.
It was Einstein that said, "It is always good to have a plan, for no other reason than to document what you had planned to do and what you actually accomplished. The two are often very different things."
Wise man, that Einstein! So, yes, plans continue to be very fluid while at sea (pun intended…sorry, I couldn't resist). I interact quite frequently with the Captain and Mates on the bridge regarding our cruise track for surveying or the next several stations we want to do over the side operations. We are working with a great Captain and crew aboard the R/V Armstrong. They have been very accommodating with my frequent changes to visits to the bridge to change cruise tracks (see photo of me talking with Chief Mate on the bridge and a view from the bridge), moving waypoints, altering plans as needed to accommodate the science.