Posted by: adorsk | January 14, 2009

We’re Back!

The Oceanus left Bermuda on the afternoon of the 18th. We were finally on our way home. The ship had been gone since the middle of July, slightly more than five months.

We expected to get a good walloping on our way back. Our first day out wasn’t bad, just gray and chilly. But things picked up later.

The North Atlantic in winter

The North Atlantic in winter

On the second night we drove right into a storm. I woke up in the middle of the night when a particularly big wave had rattled the ship. I couldn’t fall back asleep and went up to the bridge.

It was a frightful sight. The sea was foaming and churning. Every wave that crashed over the bow sent clattering sheets of water into the bridge windshield. It was like an army of angry white ghosts was trying to claw its way inside.

The third day of the transit was similarly rough. We rolled back and forth the whole way. It seemed like everyone was engaged in a marathon game of freeze-tag; with every roll we would have to stop and regain our balance.

We arrived at WHOI on the morning of the 21st, a Sunday. A chilling sleet was blowing through the Vineyard sound. But we could see the WHOI dock ahead! Friends, family, and the WHOI regulars were there to greet us.

The dock!

The dock!

Captain DM guides the ship to the dock

Captain DM guides the ship to the dock

The gangway comes down

The gangway comes down

It was not an easy docking. Hands froze quickly in the cold sleet and strong wind blew the ship around. But the crew and folks on shore got us in. We lowered the gangway. We were back!

Post-Trip Musings

Over the next few days I packed up my gear and thought about the trip. I really had been very lucky. How else could I have traveled to Saudi Arabia, gone through the Suez canal, hiked the U.S. Virgin Islands, and scootered around Bermuda? How else could I have met amazing scientists and crew mates? There had been some of those stormy, nasty days when I asked myself  ‘what was I thinking’. But the plusses most certainly outweighed the minuses.

I also learned that I do wear down at sea. My whole body felt sore. I think it came from gradual accumulation. Bumpy nights, few chances to take a long walk. And from going to work for just about every day during the last 5 months months.

I also appreciated being back home. The U.S. has many problems but it also has a a lot of great things.  Basic freedoms, paved streets, reasonable laws, trust.  I think I appreciate these things much more after being in places like Saudi Arabia or the Suez canal.

Leaving

The winter storm blew away and the next few days were calm.

The <i>Oceanus</i> back at the dock

The Oceanus back at the dock

I left just as the annual WHOI (machine) shop party was in full-swing. The shop guys had decked the rafters with lights and organized catering, even live bands. Pretty much everyone who was still around for the holidays came down to hang out. WHOI is a special place.

Getting ready for the shop party

Getting ready for the shop party

The shop party in full swing

The shop party in full swing

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  1. […] We’re Back!  Return to WHOI […]


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