“One mustn’t look at the abyss, because there is at the bottom an inexpressible charm which attracts us. “ ~Gustave Flaubert

Today’s blog will hopefully give some insight to my daily “routine” on the Langseth as well as some tidbits about the vessel. To begin with, I must express that I thoroughly love being at sea. Exploration and discovery are words that entice me to spend weeks on end rolling around a giant hunk of steel.  There are so many wonderful aspects of sailing around on a quest to take a never before seen look at what lies beneath. It is ridiculously exciting to watch the data come in on the shipboard monitors and know that I am one of the first people to look at the Earth in such detail. I also find it just plain fun to be “trapped” in that giant steel drum with world-class experts in the geosciences. Learning from these people is like drinking from a fire hose and you can’t help but feel a combination of wiped out and refreshed when you walk off. I love being at sea.


So, what exactly do I do everyday on this “cruise”? First of all, it is nothing like being on a Carnival cruise. The term “cruise” for a research survey is quite the misnomer. We work 12+ hours a day for the entire week over many weeks (usually 1-2 months), and there are no days off. I’m not complaining (see the sentiments expressed above). My days on this cruise involve waking up at 11:15 p.m., grab some cereal in the mess, getting into the lab by midnight, spend four hours editing-multibeam, four hours as watchstander, four hours processing seismic data, (all the while deploying XBTs and XCTDs every couple hours) and then going to the gym and reading for a few hours before going to bed. Two meals are served while I am awake: breakfast at 7:30 and lunch at 11:30. That is the summary of what the day is supposed to look like – of course all this changes depending on what data we are collecting and when/what gear is coming in or going out. There is rarely a dull moment. On that note, here are a few pictures of our gear and the ship:


The R/V Marcus G. Langseth is the premier seismic vessel in the U.S. academic fleet. She is operated by Lomont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Columbia University) and was acquired in 2004 (put to service in 2008) replacing the previous R/V Ewing. The Langseth is 72 meters long (253 ft.), has some of the biggest air compressors at sea, and holds about 50 people. This ship tows an 8 km streamer for 2D multi-channel seismic (MCS) work and can tow four 8 km streamers for 3D surveys. We also have some sweet guns – air-guns that is. On this cruise we cast the first CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) instrument off of the Langseth – thus adding to her list of capabilities. Let me know what else you’d like to know – I plan on loading a picture tour sometime in the future.


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