Wednesday, June 4, 2014


"Happy 5th birthday Kai!  Love, Dad."
Julian Herndon, RTC-SFSU

Over the past few days, I've been able to catch up with my old friend, Julian Herndon.  Although Julian and I attended USC as undergraduate students,  it wasn't until our 2004 cruise on the R/V Kilo Moana, that we really got to know each other and became good friends.  We had some of the same classes together while we were in college, but ironically our paths never crossed.  He's has a great sense of humor and some of the best stories I've ever heard.  He's lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Costa Rica, and has set foot on every continent except for Africa. After his time at USC, he followed Dr. Cochlan up to San Francisco State University, where he earned his Masters degree in marine biology and went on to become Dr. Cochlan's research technician and associate.   The two of them remain very close as colleagues and friends, with Dr. Cochlan being Julian's son's Godfather.  Today is Kai's 5th birthday, and all of us want to wish the little guy a great day.  Kai, your dad misses you very much and is very excited to see you, your sisters, and your mom. You have a great dad.

I've been thinking about writing this for the past few days...  As Julian and I caught up on in each other's lives, I began to realize the sacrifice that is made by these researchers and their families. While this is part of the job, as it is the case with many other professions, it can take a toll on everyone involved.  Sometimes, experiments can run into and through weekends (and sometimes holidays). Birthdays and graduations are missed, yet the families of these researchers remain strong and understanding through it all.  

Oceanographic research is not easy.  Once a project is funded, it may take months to plan the trip. Chemicals must be ordered and equipment packed. Experimental techniques are performed in the lab before going to sea.  Bills must be scheduled for payment, mail put on hold, and pets looked after. While at sea, there is a disconnect. Life cannot be dealt with quickly -- rather, life is put on hold.  Added responsibilities often fall on the families at home. After the trip, there's many more months of data crunching and writing reports on their findings, yet the families remain supportive.
L to R: Trey Joyner (NPMM), ResTech 
Keith Shadle, and Hannah Glover 
I want to tell you about my colleague and fellow teacher at sea, Trey Joyner... He has a wonderful wife, and four young kids waiting for him at home (along with a new pooch, named Archie).  Every day as we sit next to each other to discuss what to write in our blogs, pictures of his kids crawl across his laptop.  Some of those pictures show Trey and his family during last summer's RV trip across the U.S.  One day, he showed me a video clip of him and his family on a cliff at Tower Rock in Washington.  His wife Laura, can be seen, protectively putting her arms around one of the kids, making sure that he was safe.  She's back home in Tennessee, (I'm sure) ready to welcome home Trey with open arms. He misses all of you, too.

The Herndon and Joyner families are just two examples of the support we all need to conduct this research. Without our families, where would we be?  We are so thankful for their support and understanding while we are away at sea.  We look forward to being home with you soon.  


Laura Filliger of URI is packing
up for the end of the cruise. 
Today has been a day of breaking down equipment and packing up.  The incubators have been washed down and are currently drying on the deck. Filtration racks are being dismantled as I am tying this post. Bottles used in the experiments are being rinsed with acid for storage.  The radiation van is cleaned up and the white boxes on deck are being loaded up with instruments. Today, we also sampled for the last time, water from the Terminator and from the domoic acid experiment.  It's a bittersweet feeling.

Charles Wingert of RTC-SFSU is seen
here packing equipment in the rad van.
We are currently continuing our cruise through the Strait toward Seattle.  We are steaming slowly and will reach our last two stations in the morning.  Tomorrow will see our last CTD casts take place.  After lunch, we will pack up more equipment--probably working late into the evening, so that we can unload once we dock at the University of Washington.

Empty incubators drying on
the deck of the R/V Melville.
Thank you again for reading.  We certainly appreciate your visits to my blog.

I'll do my best to get an entry in tomorrow as we transform the lab back into an empty space...for the next group to sail on the "Salty Ship."

R/V Melville Cruise 1403 - Ocean Acidification Research Team,
May - June 2014.

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