It is great to be back on the R/V Atlantis. Between research cruises, I forget how much I love going to sea. As I look over the ship’s rails and then back up towards the bridge, I remember how lucky I am to be able to do this. The last time I was onboard the Atlantis was August 2006. Over 4 years ago, but it doesn’t feel that long. As I look around the ship everything falls back into the place. Metal stairs going up and down leading to heavy doors, the tracks across the back of the ship that Alvin gets rolled out on, Alvin wearing boxing gloves, the wet lab where my high pressure high temperature experiments met a terrible demise in 2006, the cold room where we kept tubeworms alive, the freezer, the duplication system where all the media from Alvin is transferred and then last, but not least, the smells of the ship. As you move from mechanical rooms to science labs, past heads and to bunks, there are unique fragrances: specific mixtures of grease, bleach, and ocean. A familiar place, but many things have changed. It’s 2010 and we are about to explore the Gulf of Mexico with a great team of scientists, Alvin crew and ship crew. Katie Sheline (Haverford College ’13) will be posting here, but also check out daily updates from WHOI Dive and Discover here.