F13 Goes Offshore: Day 8

Day 8 – 33° 17.7’N X 118° 32.1’W

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Raina from Carleton College and Autumn from Dartmouth College work on preparing the samples for data collection and analysis. These two are analyzing concentrations of phosphate, an important limiting nutrient for the growth of phytoplankton.

As we sailed toward an anchorage beside Santa Catalina Island, students buckled down and completing their science projects. Each watch has been divided into pairs that will analyze certain biological, physical, chemical, or geological trends and properties of the waters in which we have sailed over the course of our voyage, based on the data they collected themselves with the ship’s extraordinary equipment. The pairs will then present their findings to the ship’s crew and the WM staff/faculty aboard the ship on Wednesday morning.

Afternoon class was a reading from Moby-Dick and a discussion on what Melville and natural historians understood about plankton and productivity at sea. During the day, we pulled up pieces of kelp, watched sea lions “porpoising”–leaping out of the water, and dolphins swimming off in the distance. We practiced for emergencies with two drills: a man-overboard scenario and as if there were a fire in the engine room.

We came to anchor in Catalina Harbor, between two dramatic cliffs, where our two stewards thoroughly outdid themselves with a mock Thanksgiving dinner, replete with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and four types of pie! To prepare the feast, a few students, the engineers, and the first scientists all helped in the galley, too. After dinner, back to work preparing for the science presentations and rotating through “anchor watch,” to make sure the ship is safe while the rest of the ship’s company sleeps.

Look out for pictures from science presentations in tomorrow’s post!

Author: williamsmystic

A one semester interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea.

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