Jul. 11 2019
Isabela on the aft deck of R/V Falkor in front of a covered ROV SuBastian

Now that I have been aboard Falkor for a couple days and have just started to gather my bearings, it is my turn to introduce myself. I am Isabela Trumble, an undergraduate student at Boston University (BU) studying marine science. While working in the Rotjan Marine Ecology Lab I have found passion in coral physiology and field work. During my time at BU, I have participated in field work both around Boston, MA and on Turneffe Atoll in Belize. My time in the field has given me a taste of what it is like to live and work in the environments I study, which in my opinion is the best way to be inspired as a young scientist. Even after all my time in the field, I am still seeking new and exciting excursions. When I was awarded the opportunity to spend nine days aboard Falkor through the Student Opportunities program, I jumped at the chance to further my education in a new and dynamic setting.

Educated persistence

Since this is a transit without a formal science party aboard, I have been left in the hands of the brilliant marine technicians aboard Falkor. Minutes after being introduced to them, I found myself understanding only small words and phrases of what was being discussed. Thankfully, they kindly paused to answer some of my questions as well as to elaborate on questions I had not even thought of yet. I was struck by how little I knew about the technical side of marine science and how much I was already learning. Superficially, it seemed as though the marine techs knew exactly what they were doing, but as I have gotten to know them a bit more and seen more of what they do, I have realized that what they really know is how to problem solve, how far trial and error can take you, and the occasional need for brute force.

Isabela and one of our Marine Technicians, Deb Smith, working in the Science Control Room
Ingenuity and familiarity with what you have on hand
Isabela Trumbel taking in the salt air and adjusting to life on board.

Since there is no utility store at sea, anything not available has to be made or converted to suit what is needed at that particular moment. For example, a 3D printer has infinite uses aboard this ship. I had never fully given this invention the credit it deserves until I saw how any part, otherwise impossible to replicate within a reasonable time frame, could be manufactured aboard this ship without hesitation. There are also little exercises in problem solving such as getting around an extra layer of paint, which was decreasing precision, by fiddling with settings or rebuilding a wire to make a more direct connection to the magnetometer.

In these first three days aboard Falkor, I have used skills from various parts of my life I would never have anticipated. It reminds me to take in as much as I can from every experience since I never know when it will become useful again.