Easily the best part of my internship was the cruise I went on.
Remember when I told you about the SWAMP cruises? Yes? Well, this was one of those. I got up at 5:00 a.m. and headed out to Paraidse Cay. We left for Suisun Bay by 6:00.
The people on the cruise were the first suprise. RTC is affiliated with San Francisco State University–but the people on this cruise were not simply Univeristy guys. There were two represetnatives of USGS as well as a member of a private environmental consulting firm. There were also several Univeristy researchers (of course).
Everyone was friendly, and we were soon on our way. Essentially we were just going to collect water at various stations USGS has been collecting from for over 30 years. We use them because we have enough background data to shwo definitively that any results we get are not just part of some natural cycle.
The boat was a good 40 feet, and the back had a hydraulic powered U-frame which could be let out over the back of the boat. On a winch (and attached to the you frame) was our primary collecting machine–the CTD. It stands for the things it measures: Conductivity (another way of measuring salinity), Temperature, and Pressure. It would be lowered out over the boat, and would automatically collect samples at various depths.
But really, it was mostly just an enjoyable day. The work wasn’t too hard, the weather was beautiful, and the conversation was interesting. It was an excellent chance to see what the life of a marine biologist is like outside of the lab. It was pretty damn nice.