June 8, 2008
Music for specimens.
On Wednesday I spent a few hours at sea once again, on the marine science vessel Centennial, a significant tool for University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories. How I, a wannabe marine biologist and oceanographer, was so lucky as to end up living nearly walking distance from one of the world’s greatest research facilities, is beyond me. But here I am (in a couple of pix taken by my dear friend Laura). The people who work and study at the Labs are a great bunch; warm hearted, curious, fun. Over the past year I’ve gotten involved with FHL’s wonderful K-12 Science Outreach Program, and have also let peers know about their amazing Whiteley Center for visiting scholars.
We had a bunch of very sweet third-graders on board, and while I’m always tempted to use small humans as chum to attract the big sharks that would be really fun to study, I resisted the urge to toss any of these cute kids overboard. Instead, it was a delight to watch them enjoy the thrill of running their little hands through the muck and life forms brought up by the dredger from the bottom of the sea floor; about 30 fathoms at the point where we stopped. I get as much of a kick out of this as anyone. There’s an immediate, primal connection when one is holding bivalves, worms and crabs that only moments ago were oozing around in a far different world. My apologies to them all for bringing them momentarily into the light for our own edification.
Part of the Labs, as we left the dock.
The dredger delivers its payload.
Yes, the sea really is this blue here.
Happy as a clam. Or any mollusk, for that matter.