Some people consider being on a ship all the time very boring. Others like me love going to sea and being on a ship. As a crew member I try to learn as much from the scientists as possible. I love the work. I work on the Bridge, collect and report weather observations, make the written entries in the ship's official Deck Log, stand watch as a lookout, help the officers steer and navigate the ship, and operate the ship's winches and cranes. -- From David Owen
But here is another point of view --- I believe that life on a ship is kind of like being in a prison or a monastery. There is a famous quote about ships from Samuel Johnson, who was speaking to James Boswell on 16 March 1759, that says, "Being in a ship is being in jail, with the chance of being drowned." How I view the ship depends upon the day. A ship is a total institution. You live, work, eat, and sleep on it. Even if you want to, you cannot get away from the ship or the people on it. You cannot see other people who are not on the ship. The part I like about going to sea is that it is extremely peaceful and it allows you time to reflect upon your life and who you really are (this is the monastery part). The part I don't like is that you cannot leave and go home when you are done reflecting. -- From Ensign Mark Wetzler
51) Paul Howard, the avid fisherman, wants to know, "Do you get to fish for fun or food?"
We fish for both food and fun. If our scientific work is done and the ship is stopped on station, we can fish from a specific area on the ship, unless it interferes with operations. When we are working on the buoys in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, that help us to understand and predict the El Nino phenomenon that you may have heard about, we get a lot of time to fish. Actually, in addition to the weather and ocean data that we collect from the buoys, the buoys work very well as "fish aggregation devices" or FADs as we call them. By that I mean, the buoys seem to attract small fish, and then the small fish attract larger fish - and that's good for us, because those are the ones that we can catch. Around the buoys, we catch some of the biggest and freshest fish you've ever seen. We mainly catch yellowfin tuna that may weigh up to 75 pounds or more, dolphin or mahi mahi (the fish, not the mammal), amberjack, wahoo, and some sharks that bite our lines accidentally, or on purpose when they try to steal the tuna or other fish from our hooks. On Sundays we often have cookouts on the fantail and eat these fresh fish. - - From David Owen
52) Randy Liu asks, "Does anyone get seasick?"
Yes, Randy, people do get seasick. Usually, the people who get seasick are those who don't go to sea very often, or who may have experienced other types of motion sickness. But even "old salts" somtimes get seasick, or at least queasy, particularly on the first day out at sea, in rough seas. Some people have an imbalance in their inner ear and they get sick for the first few days out, but after that they are fine. I have also seen people who have been in the Navy for over 26 years lying on the deck because they were so sick that they could not even stand. Being seasick is like having a bad case of the flu - it's no fun at all. Never make fun of someone who is seasick. -- From David Owen
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