July 27, 2015

Pick it up and pack it away

I began packing my personal gear for the cruise in May when I squeezed my winter clothes and two months worth of toiletries into the spaces around science gear to fill coolers (pictured in Resting Easier post), which are currently stowed on the Healy. Following our work in Seattle aboard the Healy, I began organizing all of my possessions, deciding what to take to Alaska and what to leave behind in Miami. Since this cruise embarks at the beginning of a typical housing lease period (Aug. 1-July 31), I decided to skip signing a lease this year and move all of my belongings into a storage unit. One of the benefits to spending a couple months at sea, aside from the great scientific and travel opportunities, is that it is a great way to cut down on spending (on food, entertainment, and in ideal cases like this one, rent). I’ll get to food and entertainment in later posts, but for now I thought it’d be nice to share a little about the things that I’m leaving behind.

My beautiful storage unit and belongings.

In the above image, you probably just see someone else’s junk, which hurts (a little). What I see looking at this photo is a box filled with negatives and a broken Nikon FM2 camera that sparked my interest in photography. I see blueprints of houses that I helped build in San Antonio and a bookcase that I designed ten years ago, before moving to Colorado. I also see a summer’s supply of water from the back of a truck and a bunch of other great memories that led me to where I am now, in grad school pursuing my PhD in marine chemistry at the University of Miami.

Anyway, aside from the stale memories that I locked away, I’ve said a lot of goodbyes to people and places since returning from Seattle a month ago. One of the places that I will miss is the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School campus, where I’ve gotten used to spending my weekdays working (in the building on the right, just behind the satellite dish), and on my weekends have frequented the beach behind the RV F.G. Walton Smith.

Aerial view of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (photo from the RSMAS Blog post "Miami Missions").

A group of people that I’ve said goodbye to is my lab — the Hansell Lab — who have previously accompanied me on long cruises during grad school, and it feels odd not having them with me on this one. I’m am lucky to have them support me with my blog efforts, and I know that they will lift my spirits when the trying days grow longer when the Healy goes north and the stations, sampling and analysis seem to never end. Hopefully I can capture aspects of those long days that shed light on Arctic Ocean and the science that the GEOTRACES and Repeat Hydrography teams will be conducting at sea.

The Hansell Lab in Antarctica on February 7, 2013. From left to right: Dennis, Sarah, Meredith and me. Not pictured: Cristina (postdoc), Lillian and Wenhao (lab technicians), and a group of hardworking undergrads.

As I write this, Ryan and I are flying in a 757 to Anchorage, and we’ll be landing in about an hour. I won’t be writing any posts until after we arrive in Dutch Harbor (on Aug. 4), but I’ll be sure to post (non-cruise related) photos to Instagram and Twitter, so be sure to follow me there to see what we’re up to!

—AA