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Keep up on What’s Happening on the Alaska Fisheries Science Center
Arctic Cruise in August


Throughout the month of August, Jessica Randall, part of the Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI) program with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, will be sending dispatches from the NOAA ship Ron Brown. The ship is conducting surveys in the U.S. Chukchi and Beaufort Seas to obtain baseline oceanographic data. Sampling is also being conducted at hotspots for productivity and biodiversity, known as Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) sites (for more information see:

This survey, in its fifth year of operations, is part of a multi-institutional effort to improve our understanding of arctic ecosystems.

August 12, 2015 - Musings of a Mind at Sea

When at sea, whether in transit or in the busy rhythms of sampling, I tend to find myself lost in my own thoughts. Today’s musing: time.

One of most notable differences from being on land is the perception of time. In the Land of the Midnight Sun, this is more pronounced than ever since the sun is almost always up, making it almost impossible to judge the time of day by the passing of the moon. Even with the sun up the weather is usually a perpetual grey with heavy fog – characteristic of my previous experiences in the northern Bering Sea. Without the frame of reference of day or night, one might suggest looking at daily activities to mark the passing of time. Now that we’ve started sampling, however, each day is essentially the same as the last as we proceed from station to station.

To further complicate things, ship time is 2 hours off Alaska time to maximize our time for operations restricted to daylight hours. This brings us to 3 hours off Seattle time and a whooping 6 hours off the east coast. Finally, we record everything in our data logs as GMT time so the date changes at 2pm by ship time. Thoroughly confused yet? It certainly took me awhile to wrap my head around the time changes too. The other day we had a lively debate on deck (away from the clock and calendar) as to what day of the week it was. You’d be surprised how easy it is to lose track!


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