Life aboard the Thomas G. Thompson

Part of the breakfast lineup one morning.

Part of the breakfast lineup one morning.

After living aboard the Thomas G. Thompson for almost two weeks, I have a much better idea of what it really is like to be at sea for an extended period of time. Before coming out I had heard both good and bad stories regarding ship life , this cruise definitely falls into the good category. It seems that the mood of everyone on board can be swayed by the quality of food and we have had some great food! During the first few days people were joking that no one would be able to fit into their clothes by the end of the cruise from over eating at most meals…this joking may actually become reality. The meals have all been delicious and almost nothing has been repeated. Because of this, almost everyone (myself included) wants to try most options every meal, we have even been treated to two barbecues out on the bow. I don’t know what is going to happen when I get home in a week and don’t have my meals prepared for me three times a day!

Hanging out on the bow during the first barbecue.

Hanging out on the bow during the first barbecue.

For the most part, everyone is really busy tending to samples, preparing equipment, and analyzing data. However, when there is down time, you can always find something fun to do. I haven’t ventured much into the entertainment room, but there is a large selection of movies that people are taking advantage of. Since we have been graced with wonderful weather the entire trip, there is no sense in spending the whole time indoors and I have found it more enjoyable to lay out on the bow in the hammocks that have been hung. There are usually a couple of people outside who will strike up a nice conversation, or picking up a book from the library to read in a hammock is another great option. I have played more darts and chess than I think I ever have. If you ask me, having a dart board on a moving ship sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but I have managed to miss the board only once or twice!

Since there are geologists, microbiologists, chemists and engineers on board, there is always something to learn. In my opinion, one of the best aspects of this cruise has been talking to people in these different fields and learning about the research they are doing. For example, we have someone who is collecting microbial mats (bacteria on the seafloor) in hopes of using them to develop new antibiotics. Yesterday during the dive, Jason was exploring one area looking for a red microbial mat. Eventually it was found, and the images that came with it are absolutely astounding!

We are currently in our second to last Jason dive and will be leaving the area on Monday. The forecast is showing that the winds will be picking up, which could interfere with Jason being in the water (since we currently have no bow thruster), so hopefully things go smoothly and we are able to complete the rest of the science objectives with no problems.

Looking out to sea.

Looking out to sea.

 

– Elisa

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