Saturday, September 18, 2010

Capricious Seas and Symphonies

Station 8

42° 24.257’ N, 59° 17.522’ W

13:35 EST

Winds: 6.5 knots

Last night we were rolling and pitching, but yesterday morning was sublime. We hoisted the CTD back on deck at approximately 4 am and the seas began to rest. The ship was holding station and engines were quiet. In the blackness of night over the blackness of the sea, it was hard to tell if we were floating on water or floating in space. I was certain, however, that the sunrise would be a peaceful reward to a long night’s work.

And then it happened. Not suddenly, but subtly. Iridescent cirrus clouds began to shine. They failed to light the night, but rather snaked across like pale Northern Lights. We stood on the aft deck and watched in silence as the show evolved. To paraphrase my friend, Drew, it was a symphony. Strings and woodwinds brushed a heavenly canvas in smooth violet strokes. Occasionally, one instrument would outshine the others then fade into the palette. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the kindle began to blaze. We moved to the bow and enjoyed the music that started our day.

But the seas keep us guessing. Our ship’s dynamic positioning (DP) system keeps us on station, while our Planet’s systems keeps flowing by. The Atmosphere can change on a much shorter time scale than our present occupation of Station 8. Which leads us to wonder, what movement will the symphony play next?


  1. Lovely photos. What a treasure to be able to experience!

  2. Steve - you are a man of science, and a poet. I bet you could whip up a mean batch of edge brownies too. A true renascence man!