Land Ahoy!! It is both surreal and exciting to finally spot land on the horizon, when you’ve been surrounded by nothing but ocean for 9 days. We spent the prior 24 hours working through the nights so that we could squeeze in the last two stations and get in our last plankton net tows and CTD casts. Then we sped off for Bermuda. We needed to get to land by
high tide because at low tide the water becomes too shallow for a boat as large as the Atlantic Explorer to dock. That would have meant spending the night on the ship and waiting for the next high tide. By the time we spotted land we were all very tired, but the excitement of watching our harbor pilot jump from his ship to ours while they were both still moving woke us up a bit.
The docking area is a difficult area to get to, and an even more difficult job to dock such a large ship in such a small area, but Captain George was up to task and we had a reception waiting to welcome us at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). There were even several small Barracuda waiting to greet us. It’s a bitter sweet ending to our trek across the Atlantic Ocean. We are all glad to see land and looking forward to seeing our friends
and families. However, we will miss the sea, doing the work we love, and miss the friendships and family-like ties that you can’t help but form when putting so many great people together (scientist and crew alike) on what was ultimately our floating home for a short while.
…But this is only the end of the first part of a research cruise journey. The second leg will now begin as we all take our data and samples to our home laboratories. There we will begin to analyze them in every way we can imagine in the hopes of finding pieces of the puzzle that is understanding our oceans. We feel quite confident that we will find many answers, as well as discover many more new questions. It is these new questions that drive science, and that will lead us to plan our next research cruise adventure.
Unfortunately, if you can view this post, the blog’s commenting is shut down and we can no longer interact with you. We got such a large number of responses, and were so busy that we were not always able to respond. Also, the past few days we have been working very hard on after-cruise activities and getting ready to fly back to our homes, so we are very sorry if we did not reply to your comment. We want to thank each and every person that followed us on our journey and interacted with us with comments and questions. What terrific questions we received!! We have been so excited to see how interested and engaged everyone has been. We hope that we have given you some idea of what it is like to be an oceanographer, a member of a ship’s crew, and to live and work at sea on a research vessel. Possibly, we’ve even encouraged a few of you to be oceanographers.
From the crew and science party of the 2014 CST Research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer