Rutgers University
  • Life on a Research Vessel

    Posted on November 26th, 2021 Oscar Schofield No comments

    Life on the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer, or the NBP for short, is fun and exciting! My daily routine changes every day and will change a lot once we start to sample for 24 hours a day, but for now here is what I do. I wake up on the top bunk of a bunk bed, climb down and pick out some work clothes to wear. I go downstairs to the galley, where there is a ton of delicious buffet-style food available. I usually sleep through breakfast, but a good example of a meal is what I had for lunch today. I had curried veggies and rice, hummus and cucumbers from the salad bar, and an orange. There are tons of options for everyone and lots of yummy desserts and snacks available all day!


    Afterwards, I head to my lab to start preparing for the constant CTD sampling. This could be anything from organizing and setting up our lab to cleaning equipment to calibrating machines. We also had to spend time tying down all our equipment and placing grip mats under things that could slide because it was a rocky ride here!


    To get from Chile to Antarctica we had to cross the Drake Passage, which is a notoriously rough channel where two seas meet. After lab work, if I have spare time (which I almost always do at this stage of our trip), I head to the third-floor conference room or another quiet room to do some schoolwork. I’m currently balancing five college classes along with working here, which is time consuming but manageable. There’s enough Wi-Fi for all of us, and there’s even enough to make phone calls home! If I’m feeling adventurous and the technicians give us the clear, I can go outside to view the seas from the back deck or on one of the upper-level decks. The captain also lets you watch the front of the ship from the bridge, the control room, which is great for bird and whale watching!

    The NBP has a nice gym for the few times I feel like working out and there’s even a sauna. At night, I can head to the second-floor lounge (equipped with super comfy chairs) to pick from one of the 3,000+ movies or games that are available.

    Life on the NBP is more relaxed now, but soon it will become hectic with the 24/7 sampling. For now, I’ll enjoy this!


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