Monday, January 18, 2010

Q & A with class 8A (and special guest)

How old do you need to be to apply to the Girls on Ice Program? Luis Jimenez wonders if there is a similar program for young men. You need to be 15 to 18. Full details are at I'm sorry to say that there isn't a similar program for boys. Luis, I wish there was something better that I could tell you! But don't give up, because I'm sure that there are a lot of other field programs out there for high school students, even if they're not about glaciers.

We'd like to hear more about how you are spending your days and what kind of fun you are having! (Julio B really wants to know about the fun part). Oh, the fun we have! Here are some highlights:

- The lounge on this ship is awesome. There's a big screen TV, lots of movies (remember, we don't get TV channels), and really comfy chairs.

- I'm reading a book by my favorite author, Graham Greene. Every time I take a big trip, I buy myself one of his books. This way, I always have something to read to when I'm away from home that's new but that I'm sure I'll enjoy. This one is called The Human Factor and it's about a spy.

- It's been really fun getting to know so many people from different places. I especially like hearing stories from the sailors who've spent a long time in Antarctica.

- The cycling contest. There is a friendly competition going on to see who can bike the farthest (on a stationary bike, of course) in 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and an hour. I did my first 15 minutes yesterday! I made is 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles).

- We make everything in to a party! Ted Scambos needed some help with his AMIGOS. He needed to assemble a 120 m (that's almost 400 feet!) of wire with thermometers on it. So he invited everyone, made popcorn, put out bowls of M&Ms and almonds, and Terry Haran (another AMIGOS team member) played guitar! We had a singalong and got the work done.

- The crossword puzzle is a big deal out here. We get one from the New York Times every Sunday and print it out really big to hang in the hallway. I tried to do some, but the glaciologists are way out of my league! They finish it really fast.

- The ship is from New Orleans, so we're all about football. The captain sends out emails with score updates during the games, and will even call down from the bridge when it gets exciting!

- We watch for penguins, whales, and seals! It's great to see them up close. Watching the icebergs is also fascinating for me because they're so different from anything else I've ever seen.

- While we were working on the ice, we might have taken a few extra moments to build a snowman. And make snow angels. And have a snowball fight.

I wanted to tell you about a typical day at sea, but I don't think I've had one yet. Give me another week or two to settle into a routine. And now for the special guest! I have some questions from my three year old nephew, Noam (posted for him by my sister).

Who drives the boat? How? Can you post a picture of the driver? The boat is driven by Captain Joe, or by the mates on watch. They drive the boat by using controls on the bridge, which is the highest part of the boat.

I know you study the ocean, but how do you get to study the water if you're on a big boat and the water is down below? We have so many different ways! I put machines over the side of the ship into the water to collect data and samples of water that can be analyzed on board. We also use sonar to collect data about the seafloor. Sometimes we even collect mud from the seafloor and bring it on the ship.

Where do you sleep?
In a bunk bed. I have a very small room, which is okay with me because I'm used to living in a very small apartment. And my roommate, Kathleen, is great. She knows all about this ship and about Antarctica because she's been working here for 14 years.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the picture of the captain! I also want to see the inside of the boat - can you show me the room where you sleep?