With the RV SONNE to the South China Sea: Research in a natural laboratory under climatic and anthropogenic stress
22.8.2019 – Life on board is not only about science
So far we have only reported about the work on board. It’s why we are on this ship and it certainly keeps us busy. But there is also life besides work – an important “glue factor” for our ship community. Here are a few examples:
With 38 scientific cruise participants and a one-month trip, there is bound to be the odd birthday to celebrate on board. Shichao Tian was the first and he got some presents and a birthday cake, as did Jassin Petersen and Jana Appelt who also had their birthday on board this year.
The food – which is really good and more than plentiful – too easily shows its impact on the waist line. You can try and cut back or go to the gym, which offers a selection of training equipment. There also is a sauna, but on a journey in such warm climates (air and water are just a tad below 30 °C all the time) it is hardly used. When you need to take a short nap you can look for a place to hang your hammock somewhere on deck or you can have a round of table foosball in the hangar.
Of course there is always something to see around the ship: impressive cloud formations, especially in the fast changing weather conditions, birds hunting for fish and of course the ever-changing sea, sometimes rough with waves, sometimes mirror-smooth. A good opportunity for a boat trip arose when the new engine of the working boat had to be run in. Many of us used this as a chance to admire our beautiful research vessel SONNE from the outside – a really impressive sight in the middle of the sea.
From time to time the work (and also the free watch) has to be interrupted for a safety exercise – an important precaution so that everyone knows at all times without hesitation what to do in an emergency. Everyone has to proceed to the muster station with long sleeves, shoes, a hat and – of course – a life vest. After work, you can sit on deck in one of the corners and enjoy the end of work together with colleagues or simply look out at the sea.
(Photos: IOW / R. Prien and Junzhu Wang, please click for a larger view)