It was about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning that we finished sampling the last CTD at OWS-P and turned east for the downhill run to Seattle. Okay, not downhill – we had 20 knots of wind straight on the nose, but we were done with Science ops, and it was time to head for the proverbial barn. Mike, Avery and the Sikuliaq crew had successfully retrieved our Chief Scientist’s sought-after sea glider, as well as a couple of floats that we hope contains Alexis’ next couple of years of research data. Captain Diego had waltzed us around and past some pockets of nasty weather and kept us on remarkably flat water the whole way (knock on a bulkhead there). We’d apparently managed a respectable showing against the crew in Mario Cart, and I’d muddled surprisingly well through a first sea trial of OpenRVDAS. No, it’s not ready for prime time yet, but it’s not a long way off. Overall, I have reasons to be pleased.
If all continues well, we’ll make Cape Flattery some time tomorrow and spend the day after that chugging our way down the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I figure that at some point I’ll email friends in Port Townsend and ask them to wave at us as we turn the corner into the Admiralty Inlet.
Food has been great. Cooks Matt, Marc and Julian have had fresh berries available for breakfast every morning, and warm bread, right out of the oven, almost every evening for dinner. Snow crab risotto, broiled ahi, seasoned broccolini roasted just enough to take on a tasty glaze. I could get used to eating like this. Hasn’t been a lot of opportunity to work off those calories, though. I’ve taken to unstowing the rowing machine that’s stashed below deck in the morning to try to get a little exercise, but it’s going to feel good to get to move around on solid land. (To my friends on the NBP’s current two-month cruise, I’m sorry – I don’t mean to rub it in!)
Once we make port, I’ll be heading up to the farm for a bit, then southbound to Palo Alto to help herd the kids home for winter break. Then Seattle for a conference, Massachusetts for Collings Ground School, and down to Florida for some flying. It’s kind of a scattered existence, the antithesis of that dictum that you should strive to do just one thing, and to do it well. Maybe someday I’ll manage that. But it’s not going to be in what’s left of this year, nor, I suspect, the next.