Jurassic Ocean Crust Magnetic Survey: 2011 Expedition in the Pacific

The R/V Thomas G. Thompson left Honolulu on November 5, 2011 heading toward the Western Pacific. This expedition journal was written by cruise participants and uploaded about once per weekday, depending on internet availability.

November 14, 2011: Matt Sabetta's Typical Day at Sea

Matt's berth, which is a small room with bunked single-person beds, two chairs, two life jackets and immersion suits, and access to a shared bathroom. The room is about 12 feet long and 10 feet wide.

My berth (Credit: Matt Sabetta)

Today began the same as most of my days, with my alarm going off at 10:30 a.m. and me not waking up until 10:50 a.m. As soon as I woke up, I rushed to get a shower while still half asleep so that I could check my email before “breakfast” at 11:30 a.m. After typing a long email to my girlfriend and parents (“a page and a half!” according to Jen), I headed up to the galley. However, I only had 20 minutes to eat because I relieve the previous watch at 11:50 a.m. So I had to make my food disappear in a matter of minutes and head down to the computer lab.

Once there, watch change took about 15 minutes to get up to speed with what had been happening. When our watch began I was tasked to plot our daily ship’s track into ArcGIS using latitude and longitude, which is recorded every five seconds on the ship’s GPS. I thought this would be an easy task until I tried to input the coordinates into the program. I spent the entire four-hour watch trying to get the coordinates to plot correctly with times labeled. Unfortunately I was only able to get one day of data plotted and without the times showing up. Part of the problem seems to be related to our recent crossing of the international date line and switching from negative to positive longitudes. Thank god we didn’t also cross the equator. After the frustration of my watch, I went back to the public computer to check my email again.

Matt on break, playing ping-pong with Dr. Oakley.

A short break (Credit: Will Koeppen)

As I checked my email, Sam asked me to play Ping-Pong with him, but I turned him down since he destroyed me a few days earlier. After reading and sending some messages, I walked around a bit and stopped by the watchstanding station before going up to dinner. During dinner, I got the day’s greatest news! Someone could help me with my plotting problem! That relieved so much stress that I was able to head down to my bunk for a nice long nap before my next watch at midnight.

I slept soundly and a little longer than I wanted. I wanted to get up around 9:30 p.m. so that I could read for a little bit before starting my watch. Instead, I woke up around 10:30 p.m. and stumbled out of my berth with my book, trying to be quiet since my roommate was asleep. I made my way up to the small lab office, which also has a public computer, to check my email (again) and read. However, I made the mistake of wanting a snack after checking my email, so I started to make my way up to the galley. I stopped to watch a Ping-Pong game, but it was a little one-sided. After about 10 minutes of watching the game, I finally made it to the galley to grab a coke and some chips. At this time of the night the galley is usually empty and quiet, but tonight a game of Munchkin was going on. I was enthralled by the dungeons and dragons cartoonish card game. I was only observing when I was “forced” to play because one of the players was tired and wanted to head to bed. I thought it was going to be a short game, but two hours and many battles later there was no winner. Finally the underdog, Dr. Oakley, won and I had to head to my watch with no time to spare. I never did get to read my book.

Matt sits down at the public terminal to check his email. Again. Behind him is the door of the main lab to the 01 deck, with its 17 latches.

One more time (Credit: Will Koeppen)

My midnight to 4 am shift went by quickly and was really productive. Tom stayed up for four hours of his shift and then the entire four hours of my shift to keep us company. He even convinced me to make Ramen noodles at 2:30 a.m., when I didn’t really want them. During the shift, Maurice also helped me with plotting the ship’s track, and after only an hour and a half I finished what I couldn’t do in four hours this afternoon. When my shift was up, I gladly headed to bed at 4 a.m. and fell asleep to start the next day. ♦