top of page

In transit to the first station in the Oxygen Deficient Zone (ODZ) off Mexico.

By Maggie Gaspar


We finally left port on Wednesday morning and it has been smooth sailing ever since! I was definitely expecting much rougher waters, but I wake up every morning to a great big blue sea of glass. I cannot help myself but to sit on the bow and gaze out at the sheer beauty of a 360* view of dark blue water touching bright blue skies every moment that I am not working in my lab space. The first couple days in port and now as we are in transit, I have been labelling sample bottles, assembling my purge rack, preparing chemical solutions, and coordinating with the other scientists onboard on what depths to deploy each niskin bottle on the CTD when we reach our stations in the ODZ (oxygen depletion zone). My favorite part of the cruise however has been speaking with the crew! As I was sitting on the bow one evening after a long day of lab work, enjoying the great expanse of ocean all around us, the captain walked by and we immediately began talking about his travels all over the globe. Later that day just before dinner, he asked if I had gone up to the bridge and gave me a full tour of all the navigational instruments and radar screens. I asked the captain and his chief mates questions galore! Ever since then, I have been befriending all the crew members and learning as much as I can about life at sea! The chef even knows me by name now from all the times I come asking for second helpings of the amazing food and we joke around about how much I eat. I like to think that I’ve adjusted quite well to my new home on the ocean: no seasickness, quite sturdy sea legs, steady hands while working with tiny volumes of chemical compounds, and certainly never ever getting bored of the sight of the Pacific. Though my days here are certainly jam-packed between preparing my experiments for when we hit the first station, discussing experiments with the other scientists, and learning life lessons from the crew members, my nights are truly some of the most peaceful that I have ever experienced. The sun sets over the horizon in a brilliant display of colors to make way for a sky full of more dazzling stars than I’ve ever seen before. I read a couple chapters from a novel about old Atlantic ocean pirates and sailors and seafaring men then fall asleep to the gentle rocking and rolling of the waves as the RV Sally Ride sails along her way to the ODZ for monumental scientific research. When we reach the first station on Monday morning just after midnight, the pace of life is most definitely going to quicken as us scientists rush around in a frenzy of water sampling, injecting them with all sorts of dangerous chemicals, incubating them for safekeeping, and then finally packing everything up in order to analyze at our land-bound laboratories… but until then, I am going to enjoy the peace and serenity of the sea for two final days.

(credit: Maggie Gaspar)

credit: Maggie Gaspar

credit: Maggie Gaspar

credit: Etai Landou

credit: Etai Landou

Darcy working. (credit: Etai Landou)

128 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page