Sunday, November 14, 2010

BOINGs and Baby Mattresses

Today's weather was slightly better than yesterday's but only in that the rain held off so we could see the wind and waves pounding us. The swell at times today reached epic proportions with the length of our hull running up one side of a wave and down the other (our hull is 250ft...)

Icing on the bad weather cake was that we saw no animals today (aside from the flying trapeze acrobat-o-boobies that NOAA hired to keep us entertained - don't worry taxpayers they're only paid what they can eat in flying fish...)

Interestingly, our acoustic team heard some Minke whales today. These are the second smallest of the baleen whales. They communicate using a wonderfully cartoonish "BOING" sound. Its as if they all swallowed Acme pogo sticks. Wait until Sesame Street gets a hold of this! I find it amusing that the only thing we know about breeding areas for Minke whales in this part of the world is from a couple of NOAA scientists sitting around listening to sounds that could be used to accompany Wile E. Coyote vaulting over a canyon with springs strapped to his feet. I couldn't make this up - watch the video for your self.

So, since I don't have anything else to write about, I'll introduce you to my quarters. My "stateroom" is small, a little smelly, and not "stately" at all. But somehow it is insulated from the constant drone of whirling and whizzing mechanical parts (diesel engines, exhaust fans, electronics, transformer buzz) that make-up the soundtrack of life at sea. I've been working in my room most days when I'm not on watch (as a graduate student, there's always something to write, I think they're preparing us for fall back careers as university administrators). I sleep in the top bunk, over what sounds like a lawnmower failing to fire every 3 seconds; he's my bunkmate Richard. He's a really sweet guy with a talent for percussive nasal music. He practices a lot, so he's really good. My bunk is nice and cozy. If I had to guess, I'd say it offers 24 spacious inches of headroom. Better yet, the mattress is bed bug, crab and 'accident' proof; that's right its covered in plastic!! Now that I think about it, it's amazing I'm not having nightly dreams of being stuck in a crib on tilt-a-whirl operated by a narcoleptic Carney.

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