In the 100-degree heat here in Washington, DC, the daily weather reports from Dutch Harbor, Alaska showing highs of 50 degrees seem surreal, yet in just over two weeks, that’s where I’ll be as we kick off the Bering Sea Expedition aboard Greenpeace’s magnificent ship, M/V Esperanza. In recent years, virtually all of my time aboard ships on research expeditions has been in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, so my wardrobe consisted of little more than a couple pairs of shorts and some thoughtfully-selected marine-themed T-shirts. But Alaska is different, and the Bering Sea is different still. The cool temperatures, wind, and damp chill of the fog combine to mean only one thing: Shopping.
Since returning from our preparations aboard Esperanza near Vancouver a couple of weeks ago, I’ve given the plastic quite a workout and have a whole new waterproof, thermal wardrobe that might even be convincing enough for “Deadliest Catch.” I’ve also had to purchase more than a terabyte of hard drive storage for the high-definition video we hope to capture during the 3-week expedition, along with a myriad of cables and assorted gadgets. Axiom: One can never have enough gadgets.
This past weekend, I decided that I needed to ramp up my sub pilot training. So journeyed to Wonderland with my daughter and rode the roller coaster — twice.
This, of course, is to prepare me for the rough seas and help desensitize me to motion sickness. It’s funny how many other marine biologists like myself I’ve met, who get seasick. How ironic. Fortunately after a day or two it’s gone, but it’s no fun, especially when there’s work to do. So I’ve got three different types of motion sickness medications and two roller coaster rides under my belt. After Wonderland, we ventured to Dairy Queen where I indulged in an enormous ice cream sundae, an essential part of a sub pilot’s pleasure-rich diet. I am in training after all.