Rough Seas

Andy Bedingfield and Calan Taylor are high school teachers participating in the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program on board the R/V Atlantis. Below are more selections from their daily journals:

July 19 – Calan

No entry yesterday, seas and wind picked up and I was too close to sea sickness to get onto a computer. The ship is big, the biggest I’ve ever been on at sea. It was blowing 30+ knots by the end of the day yesterday and the combined seas were 8-10 ft. On a seiner or sailboat it would have been challenging conditions. On Atlantis, it was relatively workable. There were definitely a few waves that came over the gunwales and a few crew that ran for the Dramamine…but relative to other boats I’ve worked on, it was smooth. 

As far as the science/work, I spent the morning helping set, reset, launch and retrieve the MOCNESS. I sewed a couple holes in the trawl net using needle/thread, and a sailors palm. Shout out to my high school Home Ec Teacher Ms. Haskins for helping me get my sewing license. It’s come in handy out here. I also helped sort, label and process samples from the MOCNESS. One of the most educational parts of the day was talking to Bob Cowen about trends in species diversity in aquatic ecosystems vs terrestrial with relation to latitude. One thing I hadn’t realized was that the tropical regions are filled w/an abundance of genus while the higher latitudes have relatively few genera but many species to fill niches. A good example is rockfish where there are approximately 160 species in the North Pacific alone. 

“Shout out to my high school Home Ec Teacher Ms. Haskins for helping me get my sewing license. It’s come in handy out here.”

-Calan Taylor

July 20 – Andy

I haven’t been able to create a blog post for two days now due to the weather. The first night of this weather, they called off operations. When they called off work for the night I was super relieved. I just went back to my bunk where I had spent most of my day. Flat on my back in my bunk is where I deal with the movement the best!

I spent the whole next day in my bunk. When I came down to work at about 9:00PM, we launched ISIIS and towed in up and down the transect all night. I was able to work by staying on the open deck. Our main job during ISIIS tows is to work the winch on the deck, paying out cable and hauling it back in. This night we were super careful. If someone went over the side in this weather in the dark, there would be very little chance of finding them. In fact one of the scientists went missing last night, and we all went looking for him. After about five minutes, we found him in the bathroom.

Today, the seas are still rough, but only about half as bad. While yesterday, I had to either be flat on my back in my bunk or outside looking at the horizon, today, I have been able to fire up my computer and actually get some work done. Hopefully my body is finally able to handle this movement. People say that seasickness gets better with time, and I hope they are right!

“People say that seasickness gets better with time, and I hope they are right!”

-Andy Bedingfield
Andy Bedingfield on deck
Andy Bedingfield on deck

July 20 – Calan

Seas have started to calm after two days of rougher weather. I hadn’t taken sea sickness pills since I was a teenager but I caved yesterday as did the majority of the crew. I think the combination computer screen time, diesel/hydraulic fluid smells, not being able to see much, and the unfamiliar roll of a big ship combined to put me on the sick side. The good thing about sea sickness pills is it makes it easy to go to sleep. My best night yet in that regard. 


July 21 – Andy

My watch last night was very, very, very much better than the night before. The seas and wind had calmed down quite a bit, and I had zero seasickness symptoms. On top of that, we were running the MOCNESS net system all night. In addition, I’m finally getting used to being up until 3 in the morning.


Calan Taylor teaches Physics, Chemistry, and Physical Science at Bandon High School and Andy Bedingfield teaches Science at Taft 7-12 High School in Lincoln City. They are part of the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program on the R/V Atlantis cruise taking place July 13-27, 2019.

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