After my shift ends at 1600, I usually hit up one of the gyms. That’s right, I said gyms – plural. There is a forward gym that contains a treadmill, an exercise bike and an elliptical and an aft gym, located in the winch room, which contains a treadmill, an ERG machine, a spin bike and free weights. Abby, Katie, Michele and I usually hit up the gym at about the same time and have a great time comparing our ability to not do ring push-ups while we rock out to music.Workout time is a way for us to zone out for a while even though we have to stay focused on our movements when the swells are high (see weather entry for more information). I’ve tried using the treadmill a couple times and feel like I’m getting twice the workout because I have to use my core and arms to keep me steady.Since the gym is a popular place for many residents of the Oscar Dyson, Ensign Amber Payne spearheaded a “European Challenge of the Century.” While we travel our transects on the Bering Sea, officers, crew and scientists are tasked to climb the Matterhorn (lower body workout), bike the Tour de France (exercise or spin bike), swim the English Channel (there is a pool in Dutch Harbor), hang-glide across Ireland (ab workouts), and more. We were assigned teams randomly and have the opportunity to contribute while we are at sea. My team, Chuck Norris Snuggle Muffin, has taken an early lead but other teams are getting into the spirit and the gyms have been more crowded recently. The competition will last until the end of the field season (early October) but I am excited to contribute while I can.
In addition to the gyms, people who are off duty congregate in the computer rooms or the lounge. Everyone on the ship has some quantity of work to do on the computer and email/messenger is the most reliable method of communication to family and friends off the boat (even though the Internet is less than reliable as we go farther north). We are lucky to have comfortable couches, a big screen TV and a collection of hundreds of movies, including several recent movies. Recently, a large group of us day shifters watched the classic Enter the Dragon and periodically imitate Bruce Lee as we launch XBTs and process pollock.
While on the subject of leisure activities, I should mention that I have taken an obscene number of photographs while I have been here and get entranced just looking out the window or watching the path of the short-tailed albatross. Here is a photo I took this morning after our first trawl of the morning (Fulmars are always circling the ship while we trawl):
New animals seen
short-tailed albatross (endangered)
brittle stars- Ophiura sp.
2 types of cockles- Clinocardium sp. and Serripes sp.
flounder- Kamchatka flounder
spiny lumpsucker (at right)