Posted by: Alison Cawood | August 21, 2009

SEAPLEX Day 20 Part 3: The last blog from sea

Assuming that no one suddenly has some extra time and the computers are still set up, this is the last blog from the SEAPLEX cruise.  However, please join the Google Group so that we can let you know if there are new blog postings about results or other SEAPLEX related news.  Thanks so much for following the trip!

Miriam Goldstein writes:

Last night at around 3 a.m., I was awakened by Lara whispering that the best thing ever was happening outside and that I really, really wanted to get up. I staggered outside in my stripy pajamas and was greeted by fiery bioluminescence erupting from our wake and from each whitecap all the way to the horizon. Above in the perfectly dark sky, the stars mirrored the glowing sea. I have no words for the beauty and the glory of it.

When I was growing up near the Gulf of Maine, my parents cautioned us to never turn our backs to the ocean. They meant that we shouldn’t get caught by surprise by a big wave or a rip tide, but I think this advice should extend to the lovely parts of the ocean as well as the scary parts. The ocean is the cradle of life on Earth, filled with infinite variability, and we’ve only explored a tiny fraction of it. There are so many mysteries to explain, so many depths to plumb. Even the humblest seaside tidepool contains animals barely known to science.

So to all who followed along with SEAPLEX, and who are intrigued by the big, wet, and blue – please don’t turn your backs to the ocean. Perhaps someday missions like SEAPLEX will become obsolete, and ocean science will be done for the sheer joy of discovery instead of the necessity of
understanding what our species has wrought.

But for now, we are landing with three weeks of hard work safely stowed in hard drives and formalin-filled jars, and will retire to our respective labs to understand what exactly we found.

We’ll continue to post sporadic updates to this blog as they occur. Many thanks to all who followed along and commented on our adventures. Many more thanks to our supporters: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, UC Ships funds, Project Kaisei, Scripps Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Mullin Fund, and San Diego Association of Women in Science. And the most thanks to the captain and crew of the R/V New Horizon, without whom we would have been truly adrift.

Flying squidFlying squid are difficult to photograph. However, SEAPLEX did wish to
satisfy the many requests for images of them leaping from the water. You
need to look closely. It honestly does not due the event justice.

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  1. I have never learned more fun stuff from a serious endeavor, nor had more fun learning serious stuff. Great site. Great blogs! Great idea!! Thanks for taking us along.

  2. How many pounds of plastic did you guys find in the ocean?

  3. thank you kindly for sharing your beautiful experience of the stars and nature while at sea in the Pacific gyre… with no city lights, it’s almost like seeing the stars that have been there for millions of years… for the first time :-)… so many previous generations have enjoyed this experience with a profound appreciation for nature… long before remote controls and wifi :-) … to further answer your question “why do people care so much about plastic in the middle of the ocean”… please see:

    thank you again for the great research work :-)

    Larry @

  4. It’s been a very interesting 3 weeks. Thanks for sharing the beauty with us.

    Get some rest everyone.

  5. Thank you for taking us along on your journey. My students (from Chula Vista High School) and I read most of your blogs and really enjoyed the pictures. We especially enjoyed watching the scientific method in action. Now that you’ve done the research, we hope that you can answer some of your questions, and prove your hypotheses! We’ll keep watching and waiting for answers! Mrs. AB

  6. Sorry for writing OT but which WP template do you use? It looks stunning.

  7. Excellent that Scripps undertook this project. But how come photos and general publicity are so hard to come by. The more people see, they’ll be forced to believe.

    Keep up the good work!



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