Deep Sea Diary: Cadence of Journey

Tuesday, June 5th

Yesterday I took my drawing papers into the hot black box of the Jason van (air conditioner failure in tropical temperatures) and sketched the sea floor. As we passed over each dark horizon I could add another layer to my drawing. Laura Brothers with the USGS made a new map of the Bajan volcanoes that I can paint in watercolor, my first successful painting in this medium. The paints are mineral based PrimaTeks, green from Apatite, a bright pink Rhodonite, cyan Azurite, and other such as Bronzite and Bloodstone and are new to me. The palette is lacking in blue and yellow but is otherwise sufficient. The seascape is lunar at times with exotic outcroppings.

Today we have a science meeting and an artist meeting. There are 17 scientists and 3 artists on board. Jolene Mok is an experimental videographer and studying her masters at Duke. Her perceptions are uniquely expressed and she has an ebullient personality. Karen Jacobsen, who has worked with Cindy Van Dover for nearly two decades, has been drawing the creatures that are brought on board. She often is found peering through a microscope and is generous with information and supplies. I am having a wonderful time making movies, taking photos, writing and painting.

Laura Peteiros, my roommate, and Laurel Hiebert from the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology keep bringing me interesting larvae to paint. Scientists and artists are not so far apart. Both get excited with new discoveries. We have to solve problems and question our approaches. Our brains are very similar, which is not what most people suspect. The cadence of the Atlantis is lively. Everyone is working diligently and there is much collaboration. We work 12 to 16 hours sometimes to the point of exhaustion because there is so much to do. Prior to the trip were grants and preparations, so getting us all on the Atlantis is not a simple process and time is precious.

Laura Brothers helped Jake Bailey cap a core sample yesterday in the refrigerator room. The mud and sediment was beautiful. I hope he found some unique bacteria. Elizabeth Siddon from the University of Alaska Fairbanks keeps an eye on the MOCNESS cast while Atlantis crew members Allison Heater and Catie Gravor negotiate winch speed to keep a 45 degree angle in shifting currents and relaying to the Captain the speed of the boat and coordinating onboard activities. The integrity of the nets is essential, and late at night in the moonlight Catie was hand sewing rips before returning the MOCNESS to sea. These mega-minded crew lasses also take care of electronics and seem to be everywhere. Ronnie Whims and I pulled out the guitars last night and made up some music for this group. They wrote 7 verses of lyrics but some of the most hysterical will never be uttered aloud again.

Woods Hole has dozens of employees who work 3 months on and 3 months off the ships and 24 of them are on board the Atlantis now as crew. Patrick Newman is a 33-year-old able-bodied seaman with 8 years on the Atlantis and is on the computer to my left. He has a skull and cross bones on his right shoulder and a hat like a modern pirate would wear. Launch and recovery of Jason, standing watch and maintenance are part of his duties. To my right is the cook, Mark Nossiter from Cape Cod, who is 54 and has an artistic marine medley of tattoos – sea turtle, seahorse….. He started washing dishes at 16 and has been at sea for work 8 years. Once, he was flown ito the Galapagos to replace a lady cook was thrown across the room in rough seas and cracked a rib. He likes the excitement of being with world-renowned scientists and to witness Alvin (not on ship presently) and Jason at work. Each person’s job on the ship is interlocked and there is respect and value from top to bottom of the hierarchy.

Every individual I have met has been intriguing. Must go to mapping.

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  1. By lovely affirmations on November 19, 2023 at 11:53 am

    lovely affirmations

    Deep Sea Diary: Cadence of Journey

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