Next week our own Bluegrass Blue Crab will be embarking on her first research cruise – out to the Sargasso Sea. Over the years I’ve compiled a list of advice that I send out to my colleagues for their first voyage. So here is some advice for your first trip to sea.
Everyone gets seasick. It’s not the intensity of the sea but the amplitude of the waves. Everyone has their own frequency that sets them off. The only shame in seasickness is not getting it over the side.
Bring ginger – freeze dried or candied, it’ll quell your stomach long enough to get the anti-seasick meds down.
Always bring your own stash of coffee (and don’t let anyone know you have it).
Sock puppets are hilarious at 3:30 AM after a 36 hour shift.
Sock puppets are less funny if you use the same pair of socks you’ve been wearing for 2 weeks straight.
Sock puppets are only hilarious once.
Bring a few packs of cigarettes, most of the crew will smoke and some will run out, having cigs for them to bum builds good will.
Visit the bridge, but don’t hang out up there too much, the captain finds that annoying.
Don’t ever let the science team see you not working. If you’re done work, help out with other projects, if you need down time for yourself, take it somewhere inconspicuous.
Bring a funny hat. I mean really funny. Like NASCAR Viagra car funny.
Actually, bring something with a Hodag on it. Hodags are hilarious.
Convince everyone that Hodags are real.
Become surly when people deny the existence of the Hodag.
Where there’s fresh produce available, eat it.
Don’t ever get caught sunbathing.
If you can cook something really good and unique (like an erotic cake) and you have the time, offer to help out in the galley.
Don’t fight the PPE, it’s not worth it and you’ll eventually lose.
Safety goggles are a huge pain in the ass. If you know you’re going to be required to wear them, buy some ahead of time that fit well and you don’t mind wearing.
Ditto for steel toed boots.
Always look good.
Don’t fall overboard.
If you do fall overboard, look good doing it.
If you bring up live animals, some of the science team (often if it’s their first time at sea or processing samples) are going to be visibly upset when they have to kill the critters. The first time animals come up, the entire crew is going to want to see them. Don’t create a huge scene during sample processing, let everyone see the critters first and wait for things to calm down before you start slashing.
Little army men or plastic farm animals make for great shenanigans.
No matter how rough the sea is, you may not sit down to pee.
Don’t forget to drop off postcards at the mail buoy.
Keep to the code.
~Southern Fried Scientist