Getting cell phone reception and seeing land was a reminder that we were going back to our normal, ordinary lives. As we pulled into port, I just wanted to go back to sea. Being on the ocean was more fun and a different way of living. Helen felt the same way.
For such a large vessel, the Atlantis was unpacked surprisingly quickly. All the scientists packed up their supplies and put samples in coolers of dry ice to be shipped to lab. Everything was placed on a rack, which a crane picked up and moved off ship. Then we did a final cleaning of tables and sweeping of floors, ate lunch, said goodbyes, and were off to the airport.
I couldn’t be happier with the trip. It was an eye opening, once in a lifetime experience of which I’m so thankful I got to be a part. Oceanography is a vast field, and I only experienced a small part of it, but even that small part was detailed and interesting. I was amazed by how much people knew about each particular species of coral or tubeworm or brittle star brought up from the secluded world of the seafloor. I was also impressed with the people on the cruise. Everyone was friendly and eager to explain his or her field of study to me. I could definitely see myself continuing with oceanography.
I would like to thank chief scientist Chuck Fisher for allowing me to go on the cruise, and the KINSC for sponsoring my trip. And, of course, I couldn’t thank my wonderful professor Helen White enough for offering me the opportunity to accompany her on the cruise and for teaching me what it is like to be an oceanographer.