During this cruise we have been known as the oxygen girls. Do you know why??? Simple, we measure the concentration of the dissolved oxygen in the water so we can work out the rate of respiration and production in plankton. But, does this mean that plankton can breathe??? Yes, yes they do, although there isn’t a nose in a plankton cell, that would just be crazy! Plankton absorb the oxygen that is dissolved in the water and use it when they respire and metabolize, just like us and also release CO2. Additionally, algae release oxygen when they photosynthesize. Therefore by measuring the changes in the concentration of oxygen gas allows us to calculate both respiration and photosynthesis in plankton.
But, as we are always talking about respiration pretty much every day on the cruise, let´s take a deep breath and talk about other productive topics: such as the intercultural meetings you can experience on a cruise like this.
If you are fan of this AMT blog, you already know that people from different cultures are living together on board Discovery. Being together 24 hours a day is a great opportunity to learn about the diverse aspects from other people’s cultures, sometimes very different from ours. One day at dinner we were both sitting with Martin and Chan when started to talk about the way people interact with each other, as well as the different ways people use to thank others. We realized how different an easy thing like greeting could be: some of us give two kisses, others three; others just shake hands and save the kisses for special occasions, while some people never touch each other, I just suppose it’s what you are used to.
But as always, it is better to live a culture rather than talk about it. Lloyd and John are great at this, trying to prepare typical cuisine from all the different countries we come from: Egyptian monkfish, Spanish fish salad, German apple strudel and so on. These exotic meals, together with the typical British food we eat, bring up conversations about the ingredients use to prepare our own food back home and the styles we use to cook them. We think that by the end of the cruise we could write an international recipe book to take home with us. The same happens with the music. Sharing the lab with others has helped us to discover new fancy groups and music we would never otherwise be exposed to. We do music shifts each morning, taking it in turns to select the playlist, so each day someone new gets to chose the music he or she likes. We have listened to very broad range of music styles: American country music, Funk, Brazilian music, Spanish pop, Polish rap… Do you think we could listen to Polish music in Spanish discos?? Or Brazilian samba in an English pub? Maybe or maybe not, who knows?
All these small little things help us to appreciate and accept the diversity of our roots. At the end, all of us, no matter where we come from, are similar and there are basic aspects we need to take into account in order to survive during a cruise. Here is some advice. Take notes if you are thinking of getting involved in similar adventures.
- Laugh a lot, and smile when things don’t go your way. We’ll let you into a secret: grumps do it as well, we know that for sure.
- Music can help you to get into the rhythm of the work at 4 am.
- Use meal times to socialize (they maybe your only chance to do so).
- Whether you prefer the sun or you are more or a nocturnal person, enjoy at least 5 minutes of sunlight per day. Go up to the deck and stare at the sun (not directly as this might make you blind) and feel the energy it gives you. If you do always remember to put on sun cream!!!
- And if you choose to ignore all the previous advice, just always remember this, it’s OK at ask for a HUG. It is magic, free and you will cure you of any pain. Be brave, all the people know how to do it, and we all love to receive one once in a while.