Life on the ship

My colleagues have talked a lot about the scientific work that we've been doing on this research cruise to measure microbes in the deep ocean, so I thought I would write about our daily life on the ship.

We've been on board now for about three and a half weeks and are at 50˚ north, which is a long way from where we started in the southern hemisphere. Recently the weather has changed quite dramatically to temperatures around 5˚C, and we expect those to go even lower as we approach the Bering Sea – we're a long way from the 30˚C temperatures we enjoyed at the equator.

In addition to all the science we do on board, we have quite a routine and a regular daily life here on the ship. Meal times are precise everyday (7-8am, 11:30am-12:30pm, and 5:30-6:30pm) where we all sit down and enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the mess hall. The food has been really good here and very plentiful.

BBQ and birthday parties

When we have some down time in between sampling stations, there are a few places on board to hang out and watch movies or play card games with the other scientists.  There is also a small gym to get a little exercise here and there. There's even a football table that gets a lot of action when there's free time. We've also had time for the occasional BBQ and small parties to celebrate birthdays and our equator crossing!

The cabins on this ship are quite comfortable, with a nice desk area to get some extra computer work done when possible. My cabin on the second deck is right near the water line on the port side of the vessel, which has offered a nice view of the sunset on occasion (and of the big waves we're currently experiencing here in the north!).

Twelve hours away from Europe

We have had internet access provided by satellite for most of the trip, as well as a shipboard email address that allows us to communicate with our friends and family back home (and send these blog posts and pictures to Vienna). It's even possible to make an occasional phone call but it's tough to coordinate the time as we're twelve hours off from Europe at the moment. The cruise track has been very close to the international dateline (generally 180˚ longitude) and so we just had to repeat Tuesday, May 24th to adjust our schedules accordingly – talk about déjà vu! I believe we'll have to change the time once or twice more before we reach Alaska.

At this point, the cruise is nearing the end so we're starting the last big push to collect samples and take measurements before arriving in Dutch Harbor, Alaska on June 3rd. But soon enough we'll be back on land after a great and productive cruise!

The author:

To be continued…