Downtime Aboard the Langseth

With operations running constantly aboard the Langseth, there is certainly a need to manage your time. The Apply-to-Sail science crew of 8 are split between two shifts in the am and pm. Me personally, I monitor the stations for eight hours cumulative starting from 04:00 to 08:00 and again at 16:00 to 20:00. In addition, I must be present for the 13:00 meetings but also set time aside to prep for and practice to stay competent in the ongoing seismic processing workshops they provide. Oh, and I defend my Master’s thesis about a month of getting back to land, so I got to try and prep for that!

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Free time. Photo: Carlos Gomez

Our science crew is not just from all over different institutions from the US but from different backgrounds. There’re people from Mexico, Turkey, China and Costa Rica and we each seem to be familiar with different language. Mitchell is knowledgeable in Arabic, Ellyn knows a bit of Polish, Gökce speaks fluent Turkish, Honga contributes his mastery of Chinese, Brandon is learning Italian and our PI speaks perfect French. I feel at home speaking Spanish with Lucia, the two stewards, several crew and most of the marine biologists. Fortunately, we all speak the language of Science so we kind of use that as a hub of conversation. So we spent some time teaching each other key words such as earthquake, colors such as green, hats and bears to pass the time.

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View of waves off the starboard deck of the R/V Langseth. Photo credit: Anne Sheehan

Given the slow start departing from base due to engine problems, our schedule is very tentative and changes from day to day. Generally, our shifts consist of monitoring the ongoing multibeam data, adjusting the window for the Knudsen echo sounder and logging various activities on an E-log. Fortunately, these activities don’t really demand our full attention, so we can work on our activities and reading during shifts allowing us more free time (which we mostly use to sleep off the seasickness). All in all, I’d say I’d have about 4 hours a day to myself, which I partition between laundry, working out on the Paravane Deck, listening to music and looking off into the vastness of the sea. As the cruise progresses and our routine starts to solidify, I hope to find a bit more time to interact with the crew (*cue the ping pong tournament), strum on the communal guitar and maybe find the muse to sketch an drawing or two. For now, hobby #1 is sleep/nap/rest, bar none.

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Gokce on exercise bike in the ship gym. Keep in mind that the ship is moving, so exercising can be  challenging. The treadmill has a note to only use it in calm seas. Photo credit: Anne Sheehan

Carlos Gomez

California State University, Northridge

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