Sylvia Earle and film crew had already boated across the Gulf of Mexico and boarded the Atlantis before I even made it up on deck this morning. She, along with the rest of us, was waiting to see Alvin make its last dive. I learned that Sylvia has never been underwater in Alvin before, which I found very surprising given her outstanding oceanographic career. All the hype and film crews made Alvin’s last dive almost surreal. There were four different film crews, plus everyone else on board with their personal cameras, capturing the scene. The saddest part was when Alvin came back up, knowing that Alvin would never be the same.
However, after the sentimental pictures, once Alvin came up it was back to the same routine- there were cores and slurp filters to be processed. Working on the boat is just like being in lab back on land, except things are a little messier, there aren’t many fancy instruments, and you’re constantly moving back and forth. You also get the additional bonus of looking out the porthole to a great ocean view.
While I was reading outside today (since it was a beautiful, calm day… crazy how the weather can change), a bird- like a sparrow, not a seagull- flew onto the deck. It was weird because it was the first animal I’ve seen in a week other than dead tubeworms and brittle stars. Although I’ve been on the lookout for whales or sharks, or even fish, I haven’t seen anything.
Since today was our last full day on the boat, we spent the end of the night sorting and packing away all of our supplies. We’re going to ship our samples back to Haverford, but we still have two action packers full of unused jars, vials, paper towels, tape, etc. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day full of cleaning rooms, sweeping labs, and unloading the ship. Since we lost a day at port, everything will have to be done in half the time.