The EPR Chronicles II

For background on the EPR Chronicles, see this post. The expedition was also recorded online at the Field Museum during this time (before science blogs!) and includes dispatches, videos and photos!

Saturday 11/01 11:50pm

Woke up to being gently rocked by the motion of the boat. It is very easy to sleep to. As soon as I stepped off the top bunk, the queasy feeling in my body set in. My body was telling, “hey wait a second! Your moving but nothing else is moving, I’m freaking out here!” My brain is confused & my body responds the way it  knows how to in this situation, by throwing up. This seasickness prevented me from having breakfast & lunch. I was wretched will around 2. Peter was kind enough to supply me with a seasickness pill. The cooks were also great enough to give up a ginger ale to me. Ginger ale has the peculiar habit of helping to settle upset stomachs.

Aside from being sick I did manage to attend the Alvin meeting, we had to try on the emergency O2 mask. My beard prevented me from attaining a good seal. I shaved off my beard because the opportunity to ride in Alvin to the bottom of the sea is much more rewarding than facial hair! Jim McClain also had to shave, we were the only 2 with beards in the science party. Everyone got a good laugh at us, but they seemed to think we looked better shaved than bearded. I hope Linda likes it. I might keep it off fora little while, try something new. It feels very strange and I look very young and odd.

After that we got briefed on the capabilities of the interior and exterior of Alvin and what the scientists role in the submersible is. It is a fabulous machine. I am very impressed. It appears to be 6-8 8-10 meters feet tall and twice that long. Inside are many gadgets for recording. There are four cameras (I think). The sphere is 8 meters feet diameter and three people are in it. It can be very cramped & Alvin dives typically last 7-8 hours. We will have to pee in a bottle & carry a lunch down with us. It will be awesome to dive down over 4km but I’m no holding my breathe over it…

I did manage to get down a fabulous dinner of a perfectly baked, lightly breaded whitefish. This cook is absolutely amazing. I cannot stress enough how nice it is to have such amazingly delicious food everyday. I am sure Linda would be envious. I miss Linda a lot. When I am outside alone  with the wind howling past me I can feel her wrapping her arms around me & holding me tight. I will be a very happy man to be in those arms after Nov. 25th. Some of the people I have been hanging around are Todd, Meg & Li Hsiang. Todd is a PhD student at UCLA’s Museum of Nat. History & works with crustaceans. Meg is post-doc at Kansas & will be starting a faculty position at Ohio next year. She works with functional morphology of anemones. Li Hsiang is from Singapore and is a grad student at U. Chicago. She likes ostracods & was invited on the cruise through Janet. I also had to the chance to meet & talk with Stepháne. He is from France and has been at Penn State working with Chuck Fisher. Hehas a new job at Roskoff Marine Lab on the Brittany coast. He is really nice & we talked in the computer lab for about an hour about research & politics. He said Chuck Fisher has a lot of funding & his grads are mostly finishing up. I might want to apply to Chuck for a grad position.

P.S. – I did get my luggage. It arrived about 30 minutes before we left. Quite amazing how lucky one can be!

P.P.S. – I was talking with Jim as we left the port of Balboa he asked if I’d thought I would be doing this 3 months ago. I said no, and thanked him for the opportunity. He said I had earned it. That meant a lot to me. Sometimes one can work hard for a long time and not be sure if they are doing it correctly or if anyone else realizes you are a hard worker. It feels really nice to know that someone thought I had worked hard enough to obtain this opportunity.

One Reply to “The EPR Chronicles II”

  1. How can a person like myself, who is not a scientist, get an opportunity to dive in a submersible to the depths of the ocean like that? It’s on my bucket list.

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