Pupil of the Pacific
Published in Elements in Fall 2016
Following Part I of this story, graduate student Jenessa Duncombe tells about her journey out at sea.
How did the cruise go, you may be wondering?
The experience was more than I could have asked for.
Working on the deck of the ship, boat hook in hand as waves splashed against the railings, I learned a thing or two. In my first shift, I roped the frame of a sediment corer to pull it on deck, then hoisted nets overboard to catch plankton, and afterward manned the computer to lower the conductivity temperature depth device.
The work was difficult at first; scientific instruments felt heavy and ungainly in my hands. I held my breath each time an instrument went overboard, watching intently in case anything went wrong. My skin took on a salty sheen, and my legs grew tired from standing on a rocking ship. I began to grasp why this class is called an Oceanography Bootcamp.