Exploring the Mariana Trench

Life at Sea – Are We Spoiled

SOI/ L. Tatreau
Dec. 03 2014
Anna Downing, a student at Whitman College, uses the library to keep up with her studies. Here she is shown taking a test for her genetics class.
Anna Downing, a student at Whitman College, uses the library to keep up with her studies. Here she is shown taking a test for her genetics class.SOI/ L. Tatreau

Dry lab, wet lab, control room, garage, deck space, cold box, storage—I could easily write a story about the planning that went into making the Falkor a science-friendly ship.  The scientists love a ship that was designed for, well, science.  This however, is a story about the other side of the ship—the life at sea story.

Round the clock

Comfortable bunk rooms for the scientists, complete with comforters.
Comfortable bunk rooms for the scientists, complete with comforters.SOI/ L. Tatreau

Science on a ship usually continues round the clock, but this expedition is unusual in that most of the scientists work all day and sleep at night.  This is possible because deployments and recoveries of the landers are safer during daylight hours.  The landers do work round the clock and if they are recovered in the late afternoon, the scientists may work well into the night processing the samples and data.  An all-night shift does go to the technician monitoring the sonar mapping equipment and creating bathymetric maps. The maps are then used to determine the best locations for deploying the landers.  During this expedition, most of us have followed a “normal” schedule.

The exercise room. Something for everyone: treadmill, stationary bike, weights and more.
The exercise room. Something for everyone: treadmill, stationary bike, weights and more.SOI/ L. Tatreau

The Falkor is a very comfortable ship.  Although it was designed for scientific exploration, a lot of thought went to the ship’s crew and the scientists who would be calling Falkor “home.”  The founders believe that the scientists and crew working on board should be comfortable with pleasant surroundings, so that they can truly focus on science.

 

 

Comfort at sea

The Falkor chefs create fantastic breads and desserts in the bakery
The Falkor chefs create fantastic breads and desserts in the bakerySOI/ L. Tatreau

The bunkrooms on the Falkor are spacious and come with comfortable beds perfect for a great night’s sleep.  The ship also has excellent internet service, it is as good as you can get on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Two satellite antennas keep out the “dead” spots that can be common on other ships. There is Wi-Fi reception everywhere on board.

Need a place to read, do computer work, or listen to music?  Try the library or the lounge. The library has over 200 books and a video collection of almost 400 DVDs.  Comfortable couches and large tables make the library a perfect to study, hold meetings, or just take a short break.  Speaking of breaks, why not get some fresh air? The upper deck is perfect place to take in the vast horizon at the Trench.

For Thanksgiving, the chef’s prepared three turkeys and all the trimmings. And even though the chefs are from Brazil and Poland (with a dozen other nationalities on board), everyone enjoyed the U.S.A. holiday.
For Thanksgiving, the chef’s prepared three turkeys and all the trimmings. And even though the chefs are from Brazil and Poland (with a dozen other nationalities on board), everyone enjoyed the U.S.A. holiday.SOI/ L. Tatreau

Spoiled?  I saved the best for last and, of course, that is the food!  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner with enough variety to please every taste.  Snacks of every sort are always available.  The galley is every chef’s dream—all stainless steel and very spacious with great storage space for dry goods, frozen foods, and huge coolers for fruits and vegetables.  When the ship is at sea for thirty days, forty-two people go through a lot of food.  There is even a bakery in the galley for the creation of breads, cakes, and other desserts.  For Thanksgiving, the chef’s prepared three turkeys and all the trimmings. Even though the chefs are from Brazil and Poland (with a dozen other nationalities on board), everyone enjoyed the U.S.A. holiday. Life at Sea—we are spoiled!


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