Hello, friends! I haven’t chatted with you since Ireland. I hope you’re doing well.
As for me, I’m gearing up for my NOAA research voyage. If you signed up for e-mail updates partway through my Ireland trip, you’re probably thinking, “What NOAA voyage? Why is Christine haunting my inbox again?” I would direct you to my first post (click HERE) for that story. This is a two-part adventure summer. Biking? Check. Boating? *gulp*
If you don’t want to follow this blog while I’m trolling around the Pacific Northwest, I won’t be offended. As a matter of fact, I won’t even know (probably). You can unsubscribe, and – hand on heart – I’ll still be your friend.
Still here? Want to hear about adventures at sea? Well then buckle up, because THERE WILL BE STORIES.
Here’s one to get us started: I was supposed to go to Rhode Island for a ten-day voyage, and now I’m going to Oregon for a sixteen-day one. Because…I don’t know, the government.
The ship I was supposed to be on in Rhode Island suffered some maintenance difficulties, so that research cruise got cancelled. I was a bit bummed, but I didn’t have license to be too sad about it. After all, I’ve had quite a phenomenal summer even without the research trip. I figured I would spend the rest of the summer hanging out at home, cleaning out all those drawers I’ve been meaning to clean out, and gearing up for the school year.
Then, last week, I got e-mail that said something to the effect of, “Wanna fly to the Pacific Northwest and spend the rest of your summer dissecting fish?” And I was all, “YEAH!” (Why did I do that?)
Now they’re sending me diagrams like this with no explanation, and I’m thinking, “Ummm…I’m in a bit over my head here.”
The captain/project manager/head honcho person sent a mass text to the five guest scientists (out of a total eight scientists on board), and want to know what was so disconcerting about it?
I’M ONE OF THEM.
Ummm…I don’t think I’m an idiot (usually), but I also don’t think I’m qualified to be a lead scientist on a government vessel taking important data about our Pacific Northwest fish populations. The last science class I took was nine years ago, and I’ve never taken any classes in marine biology. I do teach science during the summer…but it’s things like, you know, the water cycle. This is a bit of a level up from that.
But by all means, bring on the fish. I’ve gutted a fish…that’s sort of like dissecting it, right? So I’ll be able to take measurements of their stomachs and ovaries and all the other stuff I’m supposed to be measuring? (Those are literally the two examples they gave me: stomachs and ovaries).
Can I even find a fish ovary? Can you?
I should go to Meijer and practice on some unlucky goldfish.
Don’t worry. I’m not really going to do that. Put the phone down – PETA doesn’t have to know I said that. Also, even if I wanted to do the Meijer thing…I wouldn’t be able to tell a lady goldfish from a man one.
I wish fish grew beards. This would be so much easier, and also fish would look awesome.
So basically, I’m in trouble here. I received a list of things to pack, and I don’t know what a bunch of the things are. They told me not to worry, though: they’re providing PFDs and PLBs. That’s a relief. Oh, except no it’s not, because I DON’T KNOW WHAT THOSE ARE. Well, I do now. They’re personal flotation devices and personal locator beacons, in case you didn’t know.
Looking at what I have to provide for myself, I was still confused. I texted Rex, “Hey, what’s a ‘ditch kit'”? When I looked on Amazon, I found something for teeth whitening. I don’t think that’s it. Rex fishes a lot…which takes place on boats…which are kind of like ships…I thought he might know. Want to know his answer? He said that a ditch kit is probably a shovel and some dirt. Ha.*eyeroll*
Oh, and I found out my roommate is an HAB specialist. Wow! Cool! (What’s HAB?)
For your information, it’s “harmful algal blooms.” Make sense now? Yeah, me neither.
Are you starting to get an idea of how in trouble I am?
And how much there will be to BLOG ABOUT?!
I’m visiting my grandma right now, and she knew a lot of the things on the list. She used to go on ships with my grandpa. She said, “Oh here, I have a lot of old sailing clothes. You can have some.” Then she dressed me in this:
I have to admit, it almost looks like I belong on a ship. Or possibly on a fish sticks box. I sent the picture to Rex, and he said it made me look like I belonged on a NOAA vessel. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I want to fit in, but I don’t want them to trust me with anything, you know, important.
I’m wildly nervous, but I’m also excited. The ship sounds awesome. It has its own Wikipedia page, which somehow makes it feel very significant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOAAS_Bell_M._Shimada_(R_227)
Here is a picture:
We sail in six days. If you’re ready to come along for the ride, then thanks for sticking with me (or subscribing now – there’s a link at the bottom of this post).
This should be interesting.