Preparing for a research cruise is quite the process– once you’re at sea there is no running to the store if you forgot something or picking up a replacement if a part breaks. What you have (and what others aboard have and are willing to share) is it for the length of the trip. While I’ve gone to sea many times, this cruise is a first for me in several ways. Most notably, its the first cruise where I’m solely responsible for making sure I have everything I need. In the past, someone has always been there to double check– someone to make sure we didn’t forget the fiddly bits so when the line coming out of the regulator is 5/8 and the tube into the air filter is 1/4 we can make the step, someone to make sure if we thought we needed 5 glove bags we brought at least 20… but now its me! The list we’re checking against is mine and no one here has done the procedure to pick up on an omission! I am fortunate to have the wonderful help I do in the preparation work itself- I have help in the lab with the hours of cleaning bottles and centrifuge tubes, help building freely swinging tables so a finicky centrifuge can operate at sea, help identifying locations that will ‘likely not be sandy’… but ultimately, I have to make the call on what we need, where to get it, and what our backup plans will be.
The other new part for me is being in Australia. That may sound simple enough (or not! It is the other end of the world from the US or Europe), but it brings with it hurdles of its own. In addition to the seemingly endless list of internet videos that appear simply as a “we’re sorry, the content you are trying to view is not available in your region”- you actually find that many of the supply sites have similar error messages when you change your location to Australia. Or the price triples (quadruples or more)… Or the shipping estimate is months past the voyage departure date. This was a bit of a quick preparation to begin with so long supply times are even more challenging. When you apply for a cruise, there’s usually a year (or more!) between getting a confirmed cruise date and setting sail.. But this time, a berth opened on an already planned voyage so everything speeds up in the form of a ‘piggyback’ proposal. My goals fit (well enough) into the existing plan for me to be added with only a couple months before the cruise time.
But its all coming together!! Waiting on a few shipments *fingers crossed* but a lot of what I needed was already available on campus and we’ve been efficient setting up a cleaning area in the lab and moving supplies through! Definitely still a lot of things that need to fall into place, but we’ll be ready to sail by August 30th!
Foul weather gear arrived 🙂