Life onboard the METEOR vessel

Written by Edith Korger on Thursday, 31 October 2013. Posted in Cruise 2013

30 October 2013, Edith Korger

Let me tell you how you live on a research ship, apart from work. First, as Jason has told you, you could grab a mug of coffee, go out to the work deck if no recovery of OBS is currently going on, and look at waves and sky. You may or may not encounter others doing the same, and, if you are socially inclined, that would be a good reason to talk to each other. Another place you usually can find others seeking company is the lounge, at the bottom of the ship. Particularly in the evening it is a favourite haunt for off-duty people. Its dark wood and comfortable polstered chairs make sitting in there and listening to the onboard radio a treat.

There are a multitude of rooms on board. Apart from the individual cabins, there are ones which can be used for various purposes: The ones nearest the work deck are usually occupied, either by the recovery crew screwing around with - yes, screws - or by people analyzing the freshly gotten data. Then there is the computer room where you can send and receive mails, print selected information, and even, if you are patient, get access to the worldwide internet. The telephone booth is at the top of the ship near the bridge. A call to your people at home can be very reassuring, but you need to visit the booth when it is currently unoccupied!

You could also observe ship maneuvers on the bridge, but everyone on it must know you are there (i.e. announce yourself loudly), and you must not interrupt!

If you seek to be alone, you could go to the library and take a book, sitting quietly in a corner of the small room. Another good place to be alone is on some narrow walkway outside at a higher deck, as up and out there not much is going on. All the people having business are usually using the rooms and stairway in the inner part of the ship, as it is much more convenient to go from top to bottom using only a single long stairway, rather than running all around the outside of the ship with all its shorter and (at least at the start of the cruise) confusing exits and entries.
 
All in all, a research ship is both a bigger and a smaller place you probably imagine. Smaller, because if you really want to hide, this is very difficult. Usually someone sees you walking around and people will talk to each other. Bigger, because the ocean around you is so very boundless, and you just have to step outside to get the impression that everything is possible.

About the Author

Edith Korger

Scientist and OBS Engineer, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Gerrmany

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