Hey! It’s day six of our cruise and we are approaching the end of the transit out to our first intensive sampling station in the gyre. The weather has been great so far, today being the first day with any noticeable squall lines along the horizon brining some light drizzle now and then. It’s impressive how variable and visually stimulating the conditions are out here. From shore the ocean might appear as a large, desolate flat blue surface, but each day spent out here surrounded by that blue expanse you begin to notice how animated the surface really is. The landscape is constantly changing from the textured criss-cross of rolling swells slowly migrating under our hull to the pastel colors in the sky and clouds at sunrise and sunset. It really never gets old to stare out across this dynamic landscape.
My name is Timbo Stillinger and I have been working at Scripps Institution of Oceanography this summer as a research assistant and was lucky enough to stumble upon the opportunity to participate on this cruise. I will be a senior this fall at UC Berkeley, finishing up my B.S. in molecular environmental biology and minoring in conservation and resource studies. As the youngest member of the science party, and the only undergraduate on this cruise, I play the part of assisting in all the deployments and I get to dabble a bit in all of the different projects going on.
Most of the blogs have already mentioned our scientific purpose and many of the specifics of our various deployments but just as unique as the science we are conducting is the environment we live in these three
weeks. By the end of this cruise I will have spent over 70 days at sea this year on research vessels. For those of you reading this who have never been out to sea, life takes on a very different rhythm out here. You form a tight community with your shipmates and living 24/7 for weeks at a time with 30 people in an area about the size of a large house creates a unique and exciting work environment. I have never experienced any other environment of a similar nature and it really adds to the experience. No phone, no Internet, no news. Its great! I recommend that everyone give an oceanic voyage a try at some point in their life. Surprising as it might sound, even with the rigor of the scientific mission, the missed sleep, long nights, sunburns, and sweaty hands, traveling thousands of miles at less than 10 miles per hour disconnected from the “real world” is a relaxing endeavor.
Timbo Stillinger is always happy to assist in deploying the CTD around 3:30 AM in the morning.
During an early morning haul on August 7, various pieces of plastic were
retrieved. The collection included an instance of a “nurdle” (raw
industrial preproduction plastic pellet) located second from the left.