Night time work on the Oceanus. Our A/B (able-bodied seaman also called deckhand) Mark is running the winch and discussing the CTD cast with Leo. Photo: A. MaasThis cruise I am on the night watch. Switching over from a normal schedule to the night watch can be a bit physically confusing, but we had five days of transit from Woods Hole to our first real station which let us all ease into the rhythm. In that time, all the night watch people started staying up later and later every evening and waking up later and later in the day. Now that we are on station I wake up every day some time before 5 in the afternoon and go to bed at 9 in the morning. I actually find it much easier to switch my sleeping schedule than to switch my eating schedule. When I get up it is almost time for dinner and when I go to bed everyone else has just finished breakfast! I can handle breakfast for dinner, but I usually refrain from filet mignon or baked scallops right after I wake up. There is oatmeal, cereal and fresh fruit always available for those of us who are (very) late risers. In the middle of the night the galley (kitchen) is quiet because our steward (cook) Steve has to get a good night’s sleep. He saves us food from the other meals of the day and puts aside lots of goodies for us to feast on during our evening meal, which is called mid-rats (midnight rations). Thanks to him there are always tons of good food options for our shift.
A variety of food set aside for our midnight meal. We can request that the steward put aside things for us to eat and he will put them in the fridge with our name on them (the blue labels). From the top going clockwise is a vegetarian wrap, scallop ravioli, a lava cake (so very yum), and a tuna sandwich with black bean soup. Photo: A. MaasBeing on the night watch has some definite perks. I get to see both the sunrise and the sunset every day (even when it comes at 4:55 in the morning like it did on the day before we crossed time zones). Out here, in the calm Sargasso Sea with hardly a cloud in the sky, we have seen a number of green flashes. A green flash happens right as the sun rises or sets below the waves and the refraction of the light through the atmosphere causes the green wavelengths of light to shine brightly while the lower frequency (red/orange) sunlight stays hidden below the horizon. It is pretty spectacular.