How is it to live on a boat?
Well, imagine living on a rollercoaster that never stops moving; up and down, side to side. Sometimes it’s a big rollercoaster, like Thunder Road at Carowinds; other times it’s more like the Scooby Doo ride. It is difficult to walk straight down the passageways on Thunder Road days. Depending on which direction the ship is rolling at the moment, you will make a few slow steps (like you’re walking up a steep hill), and then when it pitches to the other side, you’ll walk a few really fast steps. All the while, probably stumbling into the wall, or trying to precariously balance your dinner plate. All in all though, it has been a very smooth trip. During these last few days the weather has been great, and the waves have been calm.
Most of the staterooms are for two people. Each room has a set of bunk beds, two clothes lockers, two sets of emergency gear, one desk, and one bathroom. Usually the people that room together are assigned to different watches. For example, one person will have the day watch, and the other has the night watch. The day shift runs from noon to midnight, and the night shift runs from midnight to noon.
And as you would suspect, adding the movement of a rocking ship makes everything a little more interesting. Anything that is not secured will roll around, or swing back and forth. A roll of duct tape makes a good drink coaster, bungee cords prevent doors from slamming, and slip mats keep laptops from sliding off the table. There are handles in the shower and head (bathroom) to prevent accidents from occurring.
There is a lounge available with comfortable chairs, where you can go to read or watch television. It is nice to go out on the deck to get some fresh air, and there is a small metal picnic table and bench on one of the upper decks. If you walk onto certain areas of the ship, like the Main Deck, or the TowCam Launch area, most times you are required to wear a life vest and a hard hat for safety.
Is it going to be cold?
I thought it would be fairly warm, since it is summer time after all. But I was wrong. Yes, it is cold! Good thing I brought a sweatshirt! It is cooler on deck, and there is usually a good bit of wind coming off the ocean. It is also fairly cool in the labs, where the air conditioning is running constantly to lower the humidity. Also, when the watertight doors are open during TowCam deployment, a lot of cold air can come inside.
If there are dolphins, will they ride behind the boat?
We finally saw some dolphins last Friday! I don’t know if they were riding behind the ship, but they were swimming alongside it. I could see them heading toward the ship from way out in the ocean, and there were at least four of them that seemed to be leaping and playing around.
What are ya’ll going to eat?
On the ship, there is a “mess hall,” which is similar to the school cafeteria, only much smaller. There are seven tables in the mess hall. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served there, and they usually leave out snacks for those who work the night shift. There is usually a mix of items present at each meal. Meals are served at specific times. If you miss meal time, then you are on your own to find something to eat. But snacks, such as cereal, fruit, Slim Jims, gummy bears, cookies, crackers, etc., are available all the time; or you can check to see if some left overs in the refrigerator.
Breakfast is served from 7 – 8 am, with things like pancakes, waffles, or French toast, breakfast sandwiches (English muffin, cheese, egg), grits or oatmeal, fruit, and eggs made to order.
Lunch is from 11 – 12:00. There is always a salad bar available, and usually multiple warm items. We have things like Spanish rice, swordfish tacos, and chicken burritos, or egg roll, teriyaki steak or chicken. Many items are also available for dessert, such as Rice Krispy treats, scones, pudding, pie or ice cream. Dinner is served from 17:00 – 18:00 (5:00 –6:00). We have had things like steak and blackened scallops or salmon, Creole chicken and shrimp or pork, fettuccine alfredo, or fish and a selection of side dishes.