Wow, more than halfway done with the cruise.  It is a powerful upward curve that I am going through and I am working at every opportunity to learn more about science.  As you know, I work the night shift with the equipment deployment, so I slept from 2pm-5pm.  Awaking, I was in the twilight zone not knowing what to do with myself before my shift began.  For the past two days I had been working with cameras, writing a sea surface temperature lesson, a salinity lesson, and a fishy story about a plankton but  I was saturated with technology and reading; not even feeling like doing artwork.  I guess my lost look was evident.  One of the scientists from France , had a good suggestion that I should “Go to bed” but “mais non”.  I found myself whining silently ” I don’t wanna.” Inwardly I rolled my eyes at myself because I sounded just like you kids.

October 23rd, 2008: Laurie Guest Teacher at Sea

I was glad I pushed myself out of the doldrums because we soon saw wonderful things from the catch in the bongo nets:  blue bioluminescing dinoflagellates, a heteropod (very rare drifting snail), ctenophores, a dragon fish and something called a bleh, clod or fhlerg: I missed what the scientist called it.  At the time he said it, I gave one of those wise head nods but I really had no idea, and he rapidly moved on.  In the wet lab, using a camera and a binocular microscope, we tried to make a plankton spark in a petri dish but its “foof had fizzled”.  Still, we then added a small part of acetic acid (vinegar) to the plankton which sometimes makes them spark, but not now.  Usually dinoflagellates release light when agitated, so I went out to look for them.  Alone, I went up on an upper deck on the forward bow to look at the sea.  Ah ha! There they were far below.  They were blue sparks spread out in the giant black waves.

Dinoflagellate

Dinoflagellate

 It was pitch dark out, tons of stars, and the moon had not yet risen.  Seeing them in their natural state was gratifying.  I was feeling a little sad that I had made the plankton slightly moribund in the dish.  I like working in the night as everything seems intense: both the people and the equipment.    The enormous, slippery  BONGO nets gleam and drip with masses of plankton.  The MOCNESS  always looks intimidating by its sheer size and greatness; indeed it is a hairy experience putting it in.  Conducting hydrowire, pulleys, winches, motors, ropes, whew!  When it’s cruising alongside the ship peacefully it is a big relief to me.

Signing off,
Miss Guest, Teacher at Sea