Corn Hole and Styrofoam

Today I had one of my rare “huh” moments. A “huh” moment is when I think, “Huh, this is a bizarre thing I’m doing right now. What the heck kind of life choices led me to this moment?” Today’s huh moment was when I found myself playing in a corn hole tournament (and winning, I might add) on the top deck of a government research vessel while watching a pod of humpback whales.

That’s really a weird place to find myself, when you think about it.

It was a pretty high-stakes game of corn hole. If you throw the bean bag too hard, it ends up in the ocean. Luckily, I’m not that bad of a shot. Also, you have to judge all your shots with the rock of the boat (which can be unpredictable and made the game pretty funny). Tracie and I won our game, so we’re on to the next round tomorrow! We credit our victory with our baller war paint.

corn hole victory

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Today was pretty chill because we didn’t have any fishing to do. I spent quite a bit of time working on my styrofoam cup. The science team is decorating styrofoam cups because the cool marine biologist thing to do is to sink them to very low ocean depths (3000+ meters). Apparently the pressure at that depth compresses the styrofoam and shrinks it, making the cup tiny and misshapen but still showing all the designs that were put on it. I’m not kidding: this is a thing that all the marine biologists get really excited about. Tracie even decorated a styrofoam head (the kind that cosmetologists use) in advance of this trip and brought it with her to sink. There are shrunken heads in the lab already from other people who have done this. Sinking styrofoam is a legit marine biology hobby. As the saying goes, “When in Rome…” so I worked on a styrofoam cup today. I’m making a hake tessellation, which takes longer than you might think. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

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While I was working on my cup, our acoustics tech came in and told us that a pod of Pacific White-Sided Dolphins were playing in the waves by our ship. We hurried out to see, and it was so amazing! There were bunches of dolphins on both sides of the ship, jumping in and out of the waves. Some of them would pop up in pairs or in groups, sort of like an aquarium show except infinitely better. I fear that all aquariums are ruined for me after this trip.

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Now I’m watching a movie (Pirates 2) in my recliner chair in the lounge of the ship. It’s kind of like a movie theater – a giant screen in the front, and leather recliner chairs fill the rest of the room. I got an ice cream cone out of the (free!) ice cream treats freezer to eat while watching the movie. You know, sea life might not be that bad after all.

Gotta go to bed, though: zoop stations start at 4 AM.

That’s “zooplankton,” in case you didn’t know. The other scientists seem excited about this, so hopefully it’s cool! This is like when Rex gets up at 4 AM to hunt, but I’m hunting zooplankton instead of…all the things Rex hunts. Also, I can get out of bed at 3:58 and be at my hunting spot by 4, so that’s a definite plus.

Talk to you tomorrow!

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