All the research on board the ship is completed up to this point, and we are transiting back to Woods Hole, MA. We should arrive back around mid-day on the 6th. In the remaining time we have aboard the vessel, we will be packing up all our equipment, collected samples, personal belonging, and cleaning our cabins. The night’s watch is adjusting our sleep schedules back. It’s a fun process, that in my personal experience, I don’t recommend.
Our last tow on the research vessel was conducted on the 4th, around 02:00 – 06:00 in the morning. The catch was by far the most impressive we’ve seen. Our tow consisted of the myctophids, krill, shrimp, large salps, cyclothone, and sigmops that are common to see in our net tows. However, the catch held a surprise… a ~ 0.33-meter-long squid! (aka. About a foot long) We have caught a few squids before in our tows, but none like this one. Our previous squids have ranged between <1-12cm in length. From a size perspective, the last squid was a sight to see. The chromatophores were even still active on the squid’s tentacles, which was my favorite part of the squid. (Note: Chromatophores are cells that contain a pocket of pigment granules that, when stretched, will increase the area of the pigmentation resulting in color changes.)
With all the research done and time spent on the boat, I am truly sad I must leave the vessel and the wonderful people I have met. Spending 2 and a half weeks on a vessel with all the scientists and crew allowed me to get to know everyone and really make lasting friendships. I have enjoyed the company of everyone aboard and hope to one day continue to do research with them again.
Now, as this is my last night’s watch, I would like to state the oath that I and the other night’s watch crew have said in spirit of our duties.
“Night gathers, and now my watch begins.
It shall not end until 6:00 am. I shall take no alewives, hold no seas, father no larvae. I shall definitely wear hard hats and win no cribbage.
I shall live and nap at my station.
I am the sword(fish) in the darkness.
I am the watcher on the log.
I am the net that tows against the current, the light that brings the dawn, the alarm that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of krill.
I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s watch, for this night and all the nights to come (until November 6)."
Katelyn Castler (Undergraduate student at Stonybrook University).