Paige's CO2 Adventure

Where were you when you knew the world was about to forever change?
I was in my lovely little roof office at UCLA the Monday of finals week, winter quarter. I had been ignoring the news of the world around me, trying to shut everything out to save the mental space in order to do well on my finals. And at lunch I called a friend and began to process reality...

Tomorrow is exactly a year since that day.

And its the official start date of the GO SHIP A20 cruise. What a wonderful blessing that on this anniversary my world is changing again. :)

Workin 12 to 12

SO, whats my "job" on this research cruise? Apart from being a self volunteered photographer and source of Spongebob references, I'll have two main areas of focus while aboard the R/V Thomas Thompson

1. CTD Watchstander

Remember that instrument I talked about earlier this week? The CTD Rosette? (Here it is in case you missed it) Turns out you need about two people to work together to collect all the water samples and maintain the machine as it goes in and out of the water. From noon to midnight every day for over a month, I'll be one of those lucky people!

2. Sargassum sample collector

Sargass-who? Sargassum is the scientific name for a kind of seaweed! (Have you ever heard of the Sargasso Sea?) The typical size of the seasonal patch of this seaweed had grown in the past few years. Significantly. In 2018 the patch of the yellowish seaweed stretched across the ENTIRE Atlantic ocean.

Some scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) are interested in comparing the nutrients inside Sargasso samples from this year to samples collected in years past. **More on why the nutrients and metabolism in a humble piece of seaweed are important in a future newsletter.** Until then, all you need to know is that I'll be having a little too much fun fishing seaweed out of the open ocean with a net, and making sure that the Sargasso is stored properly for analysis later.
Sargassum, sometimes referred to as brown algae. Image credit: Florida Museum of Natural History

Captians Log

Sunday, March 14th 2021.
All packed and ready to go!! My duffel bag is an exploding sausage of layers, cameras, and roughly 25 masks. I've had my last Zoom call (WOOOOO!) and virtually closed up shop on all of my things at UCLA.
Now that I have time to finally have time to think about the cruise, not very much is on my mind. I am spilling over with gratitude and emotion after reading the responses to the newsletter sign up form, and all the kind texts I've received from friends. I am the single most supported human being on this planet right now :'). But apart from gratitude, I am calm, almost blank, just waiting for whats to come. As I write this snow is beginning to fall and I'm listening to bossa nova. Heres a taste of the music thats gotten me through this two week isolation if you care to listen.
Finally, I took time this week to watch the documentary that served as my first glimpse into the world of oceanography when I was a child. It's the story of the Battleship Bismarck, and oceanographer Robert Ballard's journey to find it. If you have an hour, and like naval history and/or science, I recommend you give this a watch.
Bootleg quality version of the VHS tape that shaped me into the ocean lover I am today.

Where is the Thomas Thompson right now?

Lets find out!


Clockwise from top left: Some of the chaos of repacking my bags (I'm very proud that it all fit), a happy sunbathing Paige selfie, necessary bunk snacks, and a glimpse at the Atlantic!!
XOXO Paige Hoel

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