I packed my pink hard hat. Most people use the ship’s hard hats, but the color makes me easier to spot in pictures, and having my name on it helps the crew remember what to call me.

Ali is bringing a playlist to help keep her spirits up after hours of filtering. There is a 95% chance ABBA is included.

Jenni packed her Minnie Mouse sheets so that her bunk bed feels a little bit cozier. They also match my pink sheets but we didn’t plan that in advance. We did request to be roommates though, so the color coordination works out.

Angel brings his own Coca-Cola. As a non-coffee drinker, there is only one thing that keeps him awake and going on cruises, especially when he starts work at 2 am, and that is coke. When you work in a trace metal van, the last thing you want to do is to leave the van to get a drink to keep you working.  The van needs to be as clean and trace metal free as possible.

Ali packed salted caramel chocolates. Laura is bringing three jars of almond butter (one jar for each week of the cruise).

Laura is bringing extra running shoes. A big challenge of shipboard life is developing the physical balance to do squats after a 2 a.m. shift. Finding someplace to run is a challenge too, but there is a treadmill stashed in a hallway.

Ali, Jenni, Maitreyi, and I all packed knitting projects to work on during our downtime, along with watching movies and reading books.  Ali has her Kindle (and real, paper books) to read in the wee hours of the night when no one else is up and she is filtering liters and liters of water.

Laura is bringing at least seven binders of class notes to study for her upcoming end-of-first-year exam. However she will probably (metaphorically) toss all notebooks over the side when she realizes that sorting plankton, titrating water samples, and watching waves roll across the ship’s bow are the most effective ways to study oceanography!

Contributors: Ali Freibott, Angel Raucho, Jenni Brandon, Laura Lilly

Compiled and Edited by: Cat Nickels