April 21, 2006

Bingo Night

I awoke late today. Sleeping below the main deck is similar to sleeping in the cool darkness of a basement. Without the circadian influence of the sun, you lose track of time. My father talked about staying for several days in a cave when he was a young Scout. By the time they had emerged, he had lost his sense of day and night. Being below deck is much like living in a cave, with my berth in the bowels of the ship and no portal to peer from. Inside the ship it has been rather cold. The air temperature is kept cool to avoid humidity problems. Cold air cannot hold as much moisture and is therefore preferred. This climate seems to perpetuate sleep. It can be hard to emerge from the warmth of the heavy blankets. I did manage to rise and head to my responsibilities. As soon as I made it to my post, the MOC 10 net was rising to the surface. It was the same MOC 10 I had helped send down the previous night, and as predicted, the abundance of life forms was sparse, although some new and interesting organisms were discovered. With the nets secured on the after deck, we are now on a 36-hour southbound steam to station 4.

After my morning duties, I had a chance to relax in the warm tropical sun upon a hammock swinging from a weather station at the bow. The breeze generated by our modest speed created a perfect mix. The coolness of the air movement with the radiant warmth from the sunrays was ideal. While rocking in the hammock (or was it the boat rocking?), I had time to reflect on life aboard a ship. It almost forces a person to relax. When your work is done, there really isn't much else to do. You can't worry about picking up groceries. You do not feel guilty for not stopping by to visit your grandmother. There is no place to take the dog for a walk; there isn't even a dog. Maybe this is why cruises are so popular. They are not only leisurely, but by the fact there is nowhere else to go you are forced to be relaxed. Now for certain ambitious, active, busy bodies, I am sure that life aboard ship could feel a bit like being stuck in an elevator with a group of schools kids on their way down to catch the bus. They are elated and you are not. I am somewhere in the middle. I really enjoyed the hammock today, but I would also like to go on a long, long, trail run, which is on my agenda when I reach Puerto Rico. The climb up the short flight of stairs from the main deck to deck 02 is not quite what I had in mind. It turns out I do have a place to be after all: There was the announcement for ship bingo! Ta ta for now.

Daily question: To what class or sub-class of organisms does the animal in the picture below belong? What type of skeleton does it have and what is made out of?


Picture 1: A magenta critter from the Sargasso Sea.
(Daily Question Photo)

Picture 2: One of two endemic sargassum shrimp, probably from the genus Leander.

Picture 3: Colonial jellyfish from the Sargasso Sea.

Picture 4: A Portunus crab endemic to Sargassum algae.

Picture 5: Floating Sargassum in the blue Atlantic Ocean.

Picture 6: Sunset April 21, 2006.
Goodnight from the Ron H. Brown.