NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard US Coast Guard Ship Healy
April 20 – May 15, 2007
Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Alaska
Date: May 13, 2007
It took Robyn and me quite a while to get off the boat. I was waiting around to send my cold weather gear via parcel pick-up. Robyn had a great idea that we could take our time and say our goodbye to our friends, eat one last lunch, and then take a taxi into town.
So we hugged and hugged all our Bering Sea Shipmates and called a taxi to the hotel. Just as our taxi arrived, the Alaska Maritime Shipper did as well, so we departed the Healy and took on a new residence at the Grand Aleutian Hotel in town.
After we hauled out duffels to our rooms, we took time talking to our loved ones still at home, a long shower, and then rendezvoused for supper with whoever was in the dining room. All the food was delicious! We had fresh green salads again, and so much more.
I went back to my room, sprawled across the huge bed. As soon as I closed my eyes, I found the sleep of a person transforming from sea to cement.
I woke in Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was created by a mother who wanted to recognize the sorrow of mothers who were losing their sons in war. I pondered that sorrow as I shared my last meal with Robyn. I had a different kind of sorrow today, it was a bittersweet feeling for sure.
After eating we left for the airport and said our goodbyes. Was it coincidence that the next chief scientists arrived on the same plane that Robyn was about to depart on? The science continues in the Bering Sea, a mission passed on as surely as any relay racer passes on their baton. Goodbye Robyn! Good life and happy memories. As we hugged goodbye our life changing experience spent on the Healy was realized and acknowledged.
The afternoon was spent with one of my Healy roommates. She rented a car and we bravely went where we had never been before. We found the ‘wild herd’ of horses that roams the Dutch Harbor mountains. After our hike, we were very tired and accepted the warmth and rest our rooms afforded.
Tomorrow would bring a new day, a new week, and a return to civilization. Was I ready?