Life Aboard the R/V Endeavor

I’ve spent the last few posts talking about what it’s like to perform scientific analyses onboard a ship but I’ve been a bit lax discussing, well, actually being on a ship.

To remedy that, I’m going to tell you a little bit about life aboard the Research Vessel Endeavor.

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My view from the main lab. The waves sometimes get a little higher than I would like!

Walking is hard.  The sea is constantly rolling the ship around so if you have to work a lot of core and leg muscles to maintain your balance. The ship pitches unexpectedly so you have to always be ready for sudden movements.  The human body is amaing – it gets used to keeping you balanced very quickly so it’s not like we’re stumbling about for days.  Though I have been warned that I may have trouble walking on land when I get to Iceland!

The running and maintenance of the ship falls into the hands of the ship’s crew.  They are, by far, the hardest working group of people I’ve ever met – and they all take immense pride in their care of the Endeavor and of us (the science party). There are 12 members of the crew and each one is very kind and helpful.

The cabins are cozy, not that we spend a lot of time in them!  Sleeping is an experience itself.  I don’t think anyone truly sleeps – the constant moving of the ship takes a lot to get used to!

Of course, if you want a little more exercise we have our “gym” in the storage room…just in case you don’t get enough of a workout just keeping yourself standing (it’s a stationary bike and an all-in-one weight machine)!

The most important aspect of living on a boat is safety – everything is a potential hazard.  Anything not bolted to the wall or the floor is securely tied down (including things like garbage cans and pencil holders).  The rocking of the vessel can send anything careening into a person in a second’s notice so everyone is very vigilant about keeping everyone safe and removing as much danger as possible.

The second most important thing is the schedule.  We keep to a schedule and there is really no deviation to it!  Meals (produced by our Steward, Mike, who is a whiz in the kitchen) are each served for an hour – and you must be present to eat, otherwise you have to raid the leftover fridge.

Everyone does have some downtime to relax (otherwise, we’d all go crazy).  The vessel has a library with comfy chairs and tons of books, and there’s a TV in the mess (our cafeteria) for movie watching.  I brought a project to crochet so hopefully I’ll finally finish that!  We eat and relax together, which gives everyone a chance to bond for a few minutes.

The hardest thing about the schedule is that the ship’s time will change depending on our position.  Therefore, we have to make sure that our clocks always match ship’s time…which I forgot to do today and was an hour behind…OOPS!  Good thing I woke up early! 🙂

Until next time,

Ms. B.

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