Tristin here! The vibrato of the engine, the aura of neoprene, a hymn of bubbles, a cold fever of ice water, the heavy trace of a two-stroke, numb limbs, an aching lumbar and most importantly, the exploration of an estranged yet alluring corner of the world.
We sacrifice ourselves to traverse in a habitat that needs no special introduction: the ocean. Ah. Good to be back in it again.
I’ve never been one to have sinus issues or trouble diving, but in this last week aboard the Oceanus, this was by far one of the most trying times I have had as a researcher. I was unable to dive and assist my lab mates in the deployments of the benthic respiration chambers on Adak and Atka. As a subtidal ecologist, we depend on our bodies to be able to get the work done. However, when the body breaks, you take a step back and weigh the options: Potential permanent body damage or sit out a day. Although this seems like an easy answer to most, I (and most subtidal ecologists) despise situations like this. But, when you have a support system of lab mates and crew that assure you that it is OK to sit it out to heal, you do.
Regardless of the (literally) backbreaking work, minimal annual income and travel away from home, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The work that our lab and the Konar lab are doing on this cruise is exciting as it is novel. The collaboration of scientists, and the shared vision of “One team, one dream” is the truth, and will yield fascinating discoveries of the Aleutian kelp forest ecosystem.