Paige's CO2 Adventure

"Everyone got sick on the leg before I boarded this trip.

And I mean everyone. Scientists, crew, captain, everyone. We were motoring out of Florida and encountered a nasty washing machine of a swell. "

I am listening intently to the first mate on the bridge as we motor into the choppy darkness. I’ve now taken to going up the bridge after dinner to talk with the first mate. I asked her how she would score the waves were currently experiencing. Using the 12 point scale most common among mariners today (silly I know) she put the waves last night at 6/7, picking up to 8 in the night.

I asked her what the waves were like when they were leaving Florida on the previous trip, when absolutely everyone on board got sick.

“Oh, maybe a six”

GO SHIP? Do you mean Ghost Ship?

The Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography Program (GO SHIP) is an international scientific program, with the purpose of making a more comprehensive data set of variables throughout the worlds oceans. The US leg of the program is run by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and funded by the National Science Foundation.

All of the primary measurements needed for this dataset can be sampled from the CTD (are you sick of hearing me say CTD yet?) By combining missions related to hydrographic and carbon measurements, these cruises are some of the most efficient and predictive oceanographic excursions. For this reason, some people lovingly snark on GO SHIP cruises, calling them “boring” because the flow of experiments and all the rest is relatively predictable.

The “tracks” the ship takes are all predetermined years in advance. They are chosen purposefully to sample areas with the most bang for their buck to give new insights about the ocean. The cruises all have associated numbers. I am on cruise A 20, which has been sampled three times already, this will be the fourth.
The repeated sampling of this track, like others, provides a timeseries, where we compare how the contents of the ocean are changing over time. This coordinated network is one of the only ways we can understand global changes over time in patterns across physical and chemical parameters. Floating sensors and robots called Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV’s) Are improving quickly, but as they stand today they cannot take the wide array of measurements that human in situ sampling on GO SHIP cruises provides.

Want to see what this work does?? You can check out some of the publications that use GO SHIP data here and if you’re feeling extra brave, check out the data itself!
All of the current GO SHIP tracks. Source

Captians Log

Friday 3-19-21
Today begins our first official day of sampling!! Or not… The seas have dramatically picked put and were now taking 30+ foot waves off the starboard side. All the decks are closed and everything is harnessed down. Lucky for me and my bunkmate, we are in the room that is literally the edge of the starboard side, so it sounds like bombs are going off at all hours of the day.

Our captain and chief mates are doing their best to keep all the waves perpendicular and reduce pitching (the up and down movement a boat makes when taking waves head on. When you drive perpendicular to the wave direction, the boat will rock like a cradle, side to side. This is referred to as rolling. And jesus are we rolling. Because of the wave heigh t which seems to only be increasing, we might have to turn westward, closer to Canada but further from our first designated sampling station. Projected weather is winds about 35-40 knots and wave height of 20 ft when we reach the station. Seeing as a CTD takes about 4+ hours to collect, its up to the captain to decide if he thinks were capable to keep idling in our position for the full sampling period. Drifting too far from the CTD while its connected to the ship with an electrical cable is BAD NEWS.

Currently on my second Scopolamine patch to help dampen the effects of seasickness. It’s a circular patch you put under your ear, and I have to say its working overtime. Scopolamine has a couple of side effects, and the ones that I am experiencing right now are dry mouth and blurred vision. My doctor and friends on the ship warned all the newbies that some people take a little psychotic break… knock on wood…

As of right now (lunch on Friday) I haven’t eaten much of anything in the past day. I choked down a tortilla, a biscuit, a couple of grapes, and ginger juice.  I’ve never gotten so much enjoyment out of a single grape. And thank GOD this ship has a fridge full of lacroix for is to take as we please.

Say a prayer for some calm oceans!

Where is the Thomas Thompson right now?

Lets find out!


Clockwise from left: The snacks in the galley, rear deck, Starboard side before the weather turned, and the bridge!
XOXO Paige Hoel

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