July 14, 2012


IN PORT!!!!!!!!

Posted by rachelcstevens on July 14, 2012  4 Comments

  1. 1.    Dad says:

July 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm  (Edit)

Yeahhhhhh! Dry land! So glad you made it and that you had an awesome adventure. Now ask them if they have a permanent job for you–HeHe. Call us when you can.

We can’t wait to see you!

Mom and Dad (with the big back yards)

  1. 2.    kyle says:

July 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm  (Edit)


  1. 3.    Juliana says:

July 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm  (Edit)

Yay! Everyone’s been askin about u at the aquarium and toast! Glad ur safely there! I’ll let em all know

July 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm  (Edit)

JUliana! I’m so glad to here from you  You just put it in my mind to visit toast. Do you have radical relationships with the raptors of south carolina now??? Upper deck date?

July 11, 2012

Last Days

Coming down to the wire and I haven’t written in a long while. Mostly because we are literally working straight from morning to night gathering every possible data point we could possibly get and I haven’t had time at all to come to the library to type a short paragraph. There ain’t no rest for the wicked I have been told.
Getting frustrated while awake at 3:00 in the morning, Christien and I decided to treat ourselves for a little microscopy. We were in the “cyclops eye” which we named the very center of a cyclonic eddie where there is absolutely no current, upwelling, and alots of biomass. Christien prepared a slide and we looked in and saw the most beautiful diatoms in the world!!! All shapes and colors definately re-energized us and made us re-evaluate and appreciate what we are doing. With rarely even 4 hours of sleep a night, we needed that. We got into talking from unicellular organisms sacrificing themselves for the benefit of their community to crazy 13 million light years away space talk..which made us realize we were getting delirious …and needed to go to bed right away.

Scientifically, we are actually discovering some incredible stories of the ocean and its beatiful to watch people get disapointed when something “isn’t working” but then get so eneergized when they realize that the “disfunction” is telling you something even more interesting and unexpected.

CTD.. how we get allll of our water broke yesterday. So, as a result there is a mix of sacrificing some things and being extra creative for others. Sounds like its not a big problem because there is water all around us but with out the ctd we can only get surface water which.. is not what is needed. Everyone is running out of everything, lab supplies, filters, petridishes, chemicals, everything. There is a lot of compromising, which is unfortunate because we are located in the best general area that we have been in our coverage of the atlantic. Final experiments are being all squeezed into the last two days. Science is supposed to stop on the afternoon of the 13th. We are then to pack up everything, wash all of our sheets, clean our labs bathrooms, everyhting. We get into port July 14th . The most common topic of conversation the past two days is iceland – planning on hitting the bars or hitting the spas. hot springs. and lots of land. Stars appear in peoples eyes if you bring up Reykjavik

Honestly, if we could cut down the work just a little, and socialize a little more and be outside a little more, I could absolutley stay on this ship for a few more months easy. Within this past month I have got an insanely strong stomach and tolerance for a lot of sloshing, and have made incredible friends. I’m happy with how I spent it and don’t have any regrets or wishes that I did more of this or that. So…success!
Luckily everyone already knows how to make eachother laugh since we know eachother so well..so we are still going strong!

No. SLeep. TIl Iceland!!!!

Posted by rachelcstevens on July 11, 2012  7 Comments

  1. 1.    Dad says:

July 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm  (Edit)

Another great blog! I knew you would get alot out of this trip and it sounds like you are doing just that. We can’t wait to hear all of your stories in person and see those pictures you better had been taking.
Don’t get to crazy in Iceland! Have some much deserved fun but stay safe. Let us know when you will be back so we can plan some time with you before classes start again.

We love and miss you.

Mom and Dad

  1. 2.    Kim says:

July 12, 2012 at 2:09 am  (Edit)

THIS SOUNDS SO AMAZING!!! My Rae-Rae, going on another one of her amazing adventures…I’m so happy for you and proud of you for diving into something like this! I MISS AND LOVE YOU SO MUCH! CALL ME WHEN YOU GET BACK!


July 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm  (Edit)

Kimberly Boyd Brown. I wish I could have shared this with you. I especially thought of you in the wild flower meadows of iceland and thought.. kim would soooo appreciate this more than anyone right now! Downtown annapolis or cantina when I get home

  1. 3.    Anita Stevens says:

July 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm  (Edit)

Sweet, sweet Rae!! Uncle Mike and I miss you very much and need to get our squeezes in on you!!!! So happy your trip has been such a great success…..what awesomeness to have on your Resume!!! Love you very much. Aunt Anita xxoo

July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm  (Edit)

Heck yea! Can’t wait to show you pictures. You guys rock

  1. 4.    Grammy & Pa says:

July 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm  (Edit)

Sounds like a very exciting triip…not only learned a lot but made great friends. We all miss you and can’t wait to see some pictures and hear all about your trip. Enjoy Iceland and be safe. Love you always, Pa and Gram

July 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm  (Edit)

Thank you for reading this grammy and pa! I am going to drive up to maryland in a few days… I’ll figure out when and see if I can visit you on the way! xoxoxoxoxo love your ray of sunshine haha! Your world travels inspire me to become and adventurer.

July 4, 2012

Yom ha atz ma oot!

Yom ha atz ma oot is how you say ‘the day of independence” in hebrew. Obviously not with the same alphabet, however. Happy fourth of july!!! Last night at midnight, scientist stopped their filters and crew members gathered expired flares and smoke signal things that they save up for this very reason! We all went outside…broad daylight since we are in the land of the midnight sun… and waited and waited. all the scientists laughed because we thought that it was, yet again, another prank from the crew to get us outside in the freezzzign cold for nothing. But finally they set off an orange smoke signal and the 4 americans on the top deck goofed off and sang the national anthem while the majority of our company, from israel, the azores, portugal, netherlands, and france laughed at our poor voices. They all thought it was anticlimactic for how big of a deal we were making and said…’this is how americans do fire works?’ haha. I really hope we don’t have to resort to a smoke signal because I have no idea who would see that. The smoke goes for 15 minutes and the flame for 2 hours. We watched as it drifted around our ship sort of circularly and noticed that no one in the world is going to see that! It was fun, but there is much more to come tonight.. that was just to start off the fun!
Today is going to probably knock me out. Looking at our white board with the schedule that looks like a chapter book, I thought today separates the little girls from the women! haha but hopefully we will be rewarded with a break of some fun again in the evening. Oh yea, I learned that the cheif scientist is originally from Severna Park and one of the crew members Dave went to AACC.

Two nights ago was a full moon and the sky was clear. It was ridiculously fantasy-painting like outside. At 2:00 am, after a horrible game of French Tarot, we went outside to see what looked like 6 pm sunlit waters, crazy sunlit clouds, and on the opposite side of the sky a slightly darker backdrop with a moon that would definitely bring out the werewolves. Reggie, an electrician, said he always has a lot of energy and feels weird on the full moon. I wish I had that kind of connection to the moon. What an acute sense! It was the first time I have ever in my life felt very far away. No matter where I am…I don’t know…the world just seems small and I know if I wanted to I could just easily get transportation and be in MD in no time. But that crazy fantasy sky at 2:00 am…that felt so far. It was awesome! The horizon seem extra extra close then too. Like instead of the normal 7 miles visibility it looked like maybe 3 in comparison even though it was so clear. Maybe we were on a peak of altimetry, but at any rate, it looked like we were reaching the horizon.

Reggie took me to the engine room yesterday. We had ear muffs on to block the verrrry loud noise, and he tried to explain all the pumps to me but I had to read his lips the entire time and had no idea what was going on. haha. It was impressive though. The whole ship is self sustaining.. make their own water through distillation and filtration and reverse osmosis and whatever else was going on in there! I got to help empty the bilge (?) which is a reservoir of dirty water from the kitchen and laundry and such which was actually no cooler than watching the level of dirty water drop very very slowly under the flooring under my feet. haha. It was still cool. While waiting for the water, I was told that if we cross the Arctic Circle I will have “blue nose” status. A sea-mans status! me? sawweett. If you cross the Antarctic Circle you are a rednose.. the equator = shellback…the intersection of the equator and the prime meridian = golden shellback. however this interesection is considered pirate waters and is allegedly very dangerous.

Its really fun setting the big experiments that we start at 11 or midnight. Everyone is working together and kind of rushing which makes it super energizing and fun. Those are my favorite science team moments…experimental set up. However, experimental termination…not so fun. lots and lots of processing and … 3 hours of sleep max.

It was brought to my attention yesterday that it is pretty cool to not have to check your pockets for your keys, wallet and phone 50 times a day.

I hope everyone has a great fourth and Ill be daydreaming about mom and dad’s big backyard today. love you so much!

Posted by rachelcstevens on July 4, 2012  7 Comments

  1. 1.    Emmie says:

July 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm  (Edit)

this was a good blog. enjoyed reading it!! keep em comin. xo

July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm  (Edit)

Emmie! tHANK you so much for my welcome home sign on the door! xoxoxo you rock.

  1. 2.    Mike Stevens says:

July 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm  (Edit)

יש לך חג שמח רביעית, ליהנות עצמך, להיות בטוחה! אנו מצפים לראותכם בקרוב, ואנחנו אוהבים אתכם!

I hope the translation comes out right!!!

Keep those posts coming Ray, we really look forward to reading them!!

We love you girl, and we are very proud of you!

Uncle Mike

July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm  (Edit)

hahaha!! Uncle mike I have NOOOO idea what that says! hahaha. I’m not a pro jew yet. hahahhahaha

  1. 3.    Dad says:

July 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm  (Edit)

“Another scientist here, Rachel, sings to her filters little songs she makes up on the spot”

So Rose says ou make up little songs for your filters, huh? We know this is you!

W love your blogs! Mom and Iwere cracking up when we were reading this one. With each new blog this sounds more and more like the experience of a lifetime. We are so glad you are having this in your life right now and even happier that you are safe and sound. The only problem is, Mom and I try to watch what we eat and go to the gym but you have to go telling the whole world about “our big back yards.” “You like Brown, you rude!” HaHa
We love your blogs and look forward to reading them everyday. We love the ship tracker and love reading Rose’s blog too. She has a picture where several people are laying on the ship right next tot he edge while two people play backgammoin—I could totally see you lying in the sun right by the edge and just loving it!
We love and miss you like crazy and can’t wait to see you soon!
Mom and Dad

  1. 4.    Mom says:

July 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm  (Edit)

Just read Rose’s most recent blog and FINALLY there is a picture of my girl !!! It is great being able to see a picture of you. XOXOXOXO

  1. 5.    kyle says:

July 7, 2012 at 3:06 am  (Edit)

..and with such a beautiful smile! cant wait til u get home!

June 30, 2012


Look how far north we are on the ship tracker! Its freezing here and many times the ocean temperature at 55 F reads much warmer than the air temperature. I want to jump in!
We are at 61 latitude I think and continuously heading north. The arctic circle starts at 66 degrees 33 min and 44 sec. basically 66.5… and i think we may hit it by the time we find a good spot to study some coccolithiphores. Its where the sun is out 24 hours a day for at least one day a year. Honestly already, I haven’t seen darkness in a week. Even when I go to bed at 11:30 and wake up at 5:00 .. its bright and sunny the whole time. One thing I want to do before we reach the arctic circle (which may have to be tonight!!!) is wake up and go outside at like 2 am so I can actually see some stars!!!

Yesterday we past over from the east side of the mid-atlantic ridge over to the west side. As I was filtering water I was watching the information monitor carefully as the depth got shallower and shallower from around 2300 meters to 1300 meters and back down. It took a while but to be able to watch it happen was special and really gave me energy and excited me. haha. I feel so loyal to the Atlantic Ocean. I’m happy to get to know her well before I get to know any other ocean.

I’ve been learning some Hebrew from the Israelis on the ship. Assaf, the leader of their science crew said to me.. ‘what does Hebrew sound like to you? Like we are eating chips?’ AHAHAHA! Maybe that is how it was described to him by someone, I don’t know. They do make a lot of crunching sounds. hahaha. I thought that was hilarious.

Also yesterday … down shining from the heavens as a reminder of peace was the most spectacular rainbow i’ve ever seen in my life!!! Hopefully I sign of no flood..in the ship. About 100 yards away you could literally see it touching the ocean and you could see clearly through it to the ocean on the other side. Fulmars were flying in its light and reflected this insainly bright white color whenever they were by the rainbow. It was such a moment! These fulmars rock by the way. They are these birds in which have been around us for the past two statiions around 53 ish. They are Northern fulmars, very pretty, and funny to watch them float up and down in 5 foot or so swells which are probably like mountains to them. Then in the evening last night I went up to the bow with Christien who works next to me in the lab and answers all my thousands of questions. It was the craziest sky I’ve ever seen! the 360 view was different everywhere you looked. At one spot northeast it look like it looks when its raining far away. You know? But it was like a negative of that picture. The ‘rain’ was white. We thought… maybe its snowing over there! It was pretty cool to see. Also, this one particular fulmar kept circling the boat and coming reallllly close to me like 2 feet away. It was awesome! He was so curious, I wonder if he’s ever seen a boat or a human in his whole life. I was calling to him.. just saying ‘fulmar! fulmar!” haha.. and I think he liked it. Apparently they nest on islands but live pretty much their whole lives on the ocean. I learned they are very closely related to Albatrosses. The only thing I know about albatrosses, i read from a Smithsonian magazine in Kyle’s doctors waiting room. Albatrosses, it said, search for the right mate for two years and then mate for life. The sweetest thing ever!!! I love Fulmars more and more everyday. Ihope they follow us more north.

I learned about the Alvin which is an underwater submersible in which a few of the crew members on this boat have been in. One guy, Dave, recorded a conversation from a scientist on the Alvin in the bottom of the ocean about 4000 meters and a woman (don’t remember her name) in a space shuttle that was at the time off into space.. for the sole reason of curiousity to see if they could do it! It was a little patchy Dave said, but it was very succesful.. how cool! It holds 3 people at a time and it takes like 8 hours to get to the bottom of the ocean.. more time in deeper places. But if you have to poop, all the other two people can do is hold a sheet over you for privacy… how mortifying. No tacos before Alvin. If I want to every go in it, Dave said, I have to find a way to get into the study of hydrothermal vents. Now I’m looking for hydrothermal vent books in the ships library

Today in the morning we had a water cast, but found that there aren’t many Ehux here at all. Therefor, we are steaming north still right now and will stop at 8:00 to test the waters and see whats there. Main tests include QPCR which is where the geneticist on board look to see if there is Ehux genetic material in the water. or genetic material of their virus we are studying. Also readings from flow cytometer which analyzes each individual cell in a sample and plots them according to different parameters. Knowing characteristics of Ehux, and knowing where they should be on the plot, we can see if they are there are not… also just simply looking in the microscope can be a big help!

Anyway, today marks the halfway point. I’ve been on the boat for 15 days and will get off in fifteen days. I am going to make a list of everything that I want to get out of this trip and make sure I get it out! I may never do this again so I want to spend the next two weeks right. I know they will go fast. Any suggestions of what I should put on my list?! I would love some to get me out of my little corner of the science lab.

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 30, 2012 8 Comments

  1. 1.    Anita Stevens says:

July 1, 2012 at 3:04 am  (Edit)

Love, love, love reading about your days aboard the Knorr, Rae!! You’re an awesome blogger, girl! And I can just picture you now, talking to the fulmars. That’s our girl. Keep enjoying yourself, sweet thing. We all love you so much!! xxoo

  1. 2.    Cait Arnold says:

July 1, 2012 at 3:26 am  (Edit)

Hey lady! Everything sounds so awesome for you right now- it’s so cool about the rainbow! Alvin sounds awesome you should definitely get in that haha. I got us a kitchen cardtable and chairs from my momma, let me know if I can shake any other furniture from these cats, we have too much stuff here on land. Miss you!

July 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm  (Edit)

Card table sounds absolutely perfect and foldable and movable… just what i like, you know! Hope you are having a radical summer, I can’t wait to be roomies again!

  1. 3.    Kyle says:

July 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm  (Edit)

that rainbow sounds like one of the coolest things u could ever see. i hope you got to see the night sky!

  1. 4.    Dad says:

July 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm  (Edit)

That was a great blog! I see you in the future sailing the 7 seas and writing famous books about your adventures! Love and miss you! Keep blogging!

  1. 5.    Dad says:

July 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm  (Edit)

“What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing…they waved!”

  1. 6.    Grammy & Pa says:

July 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm  (Edit)

We are so happy for you, and a little jealous…wish we were there. You know how we love to travel and have adventures….your trip makes our trip to the Amazon seem like a kindergarden outing! Love the blogs, we may even be learning something about the ocean from them. Keep up the good work. Take care, love and miss you. Gram and Pa

  1. 7.    Emmie says:

July 3, 2012 at 11:43 pm  (Edit)

Rachel!!!!! I miss you sweetie pie!! You seem to be having a great and interesting time there..it’s soooo hot here right now so I’m actually jealous that you’re cold! it’s been like in the 90s and 100s. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip when you get back. Keep having fun with the fulmars  I’m sure they enjoyed you talking and giggling to them! I’m really jealous of the rainbow. that sounds way awesome. peace and love! praying for you.

June 24, 2012

53 N 30 W

Last couple days have been very eventful!
Not much time to write… I have water processing!
I learned to tie some more knots, a figure 8 to hold yourself up when, say rock climbing, learned to tie a hangman’s noose, which is apparently illegal to tie in some states. I’ve been playing “music” with my variously filled filter glasses and have been increasing in skill. Heard my first song in a long time the other day. A girl filipa had taylor swift on her computer playing and now that one song has been stuck in my head for the past 3 days because its the only song i’ve heard this whole time! eyes open. We were planning for our iceland port landing by reading a travel book. we learned that Reykavik is an “international arbitor of hipness” hahaha!

A few days ago I was speaking to Rose who writes the other blog. SHe has an amazing career going where she is a freelance science journalist. Basically she gets to learn about all kinds of science research in any field of science ever, with new updated knowledge about what everyone is discovering and learning, and tell the public. Thats her job. Whats cool about it is that she can do this, and be very well rounded in science, and that she doesn’t have to study one type of cell or one type of reaction for her entire life, like so many..basically all… research scientist do. She also told me about the career of being a Public Information Officer for a college. THey are hired by universities to publicize current research going on at that college. Its a more steady job than being a freelancer, but it has the same basic benefit that I just described. Great eyeopening conversation with her .. I may look into this~ I’m jealous of rose because she is learning more than I am i feel like through her interviews and tours around everything and shadowing other people, where much of my time is spend behind water filters. I still get to do a lot of that stuff… just am more restricted. But i’d clean toilets to be here so I don’t really care! Its just kind of a first look into.. “hey .. I’d rather have her job…” so I may look into this PIO job. Rose rocks

She learned the other day by taking a tour of the kitchen that they put ozone gas in the fruit fridge (oxygen we breathe is O2, ozone is O3) to keep the fruit fresh. That was very interesting to me. We certainly still have fresh fruit 9 or so days into the trip!

Its very awesome to see color changes in to ocean. WHen the fluorometer goes up, that signifies that chlorophyll a goes up, and biomass of primary producers is up. When the fluormeter is in the 100 mV range the water is very very blue.. when it gets into the 300-400 range you can actually see that the water is much greener. Its awesome! There are suprisingly a lot of birds in the middle of the ocean. Or at least more than you would expect. But we are in very productive zones, which brings all sorts of aninmals

THere are people on the ship studying Aerosols in the atmosphere. I assumed they were studying typical gases in the atmosphere plus DMS.. and what-have-you. BUt they are actually looking for the phytoplankton Ehux and its virus in the air! It didn’t occur to me that the phytoplankton would be in the air… it makes sense logically but I never thought of that. Apparently its a big helping mechanism for being able to spread their bloom far off. Like plants spreading pollen and such into the air, but these guys are just sending a few of their fully grown fellow kind haha.. more or less. They could be breezing against my face everyday! I love them. I sing to the phytoplankton we have in incubators every night. haha. it helps them grow. They have detectors up in the crows nest.. its high and scary and I’m glad I don’t have that job.

Also, the other night were saw a huge family of pilot whales! they are small and look like dolphins but are whales. It was beautiful. Its neat taht we met up in a random intersection of space and time…the perfect point in the middle of SO MUCH SPACE so we could see them and interact almost. THey were definately curious and not just casually swimming by. No breaching or jumping. Just swimming and most you saw were their dorsal fins. Apparently there were babies on mothers backs .. i didnt see.. but how beautiful!!!

THere was a lot of energy iin the boat when we arrived at our station which we were chasing from images of satelite. We watched the fluorometer rise and made bets on what it would be the next minute. THe water was greener.. everyone was cheerful and in a hurry to look under a microscope to see if Ehux was really there. I followed Uri into the microscope room with a concentration sample and saw my first Ehux in the microscope! It was very green unlike the pictures which was weird butyou could see its structure.. not just color on my filter. It ended up that there wasn’t as much as we had hoped so we moved a little more, but now we are stationed in a spot for at least four days.

I finally watched a movie in the theatre room! We are closer to Iceland than the Azores. All science stops when a coffee machine is broken.. everyone is in a panic to fix it… hair is much softer when washing it with soft water made in the boat, but fingers get pruny super fast.

Lots more everyday!!!! No more seasickness really. Unless its super rough.

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 24, 2012  7 Comments

  1. 1.    Grammy & Pa says:

June 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm  (Edit)

Rae: How wonderful and exciting. You sound like a scientist….Glad you aren’t having anymore sea sickness. Anymore crazy dreams? Be safe and know that we are thinking of you every day. Geena and Sam’s graduation was great, your mom and dad had a great party the next day. Everyone missed you and was excited about your trip. Take care and keep up the good work. Love you,

  1. 2.    Mom says: All science stops at our house when the coffee machine is broken.

June 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm  (Edit)

  1. 3.    Mom says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm  (Edit)

So glad to hear that the seasickness has subsided a bit!!! Though the fish might be upset that you’ve stopped feeding them. EWWWW did I just say that?!!! Rach….we are so happy that you are able to experience such an awesome adventure. There’s a lifetime of wonderful memories and friendships all wrapped up in one month and I’m so happy that you are a part of it. Keep taking pictures and sending lots of blogs of things that make no sense to yo mamma. I love you so much!!!!!

  1. 4.    Dad says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm  (Edit)

I’ve never seen a girl change her mind so many times about what job she wants when she “grows up!” You crack me up. I’m so gald you are getting so much out of this trip and I’m even more glad that the seasickness seems to have subsided. We love you and miss you and can’t wait to check for new blog entries all of the time. Keep em coming! Most of all, stay safe and keep in touch. We love you!!!!!!

  1. 5.    Dad says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm  (Edit)

Give us a weather update, scientist! And how long are the days now?

  1. 6.    Dad says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm  (Edit)

Rae-Rae, I think YOU are an international arbitor of HIPNESS!!!!!!

  1. 7.    Kyle says:

June 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm  (Edit)

getting fresh fruit everyday and a movie theater out in the middle of the ocean is a pretty ballin’ lifestyle

June 21, 2012

457N 28W

So there is 60 nautical miles per degree latitude. And we are going about 10 knots (~10 miles/hr). Our first station was at 43 degrees north. And our next is supposedly 53 degrees north. Being at 47 right now, we have a nother day or so to go. What is cool about this voyage, is that we really have no idea where we are going. Its exciting because we watch satellite images for high fluorescence from a fluorometrer. High florescence, means high chlorophyll a ( which is a pigmentn that all photosynthesizers have), which means high concentrations of phytoplankton which means a nice bloom! however, we don’t know if it will be Ehux or not.. there are other ways that you can closely guess the type of phytoplankton, but realistically, we don’t know for sure until we are there. The last station we were at had many viruses and very little Ehux, so that indicates that the bloom already happened and died. So we will see what its like by the time we get to 53. Looking at the satleite, we may end up going over to ireland once we have clearance to be their waters. Then to icelandic waters. Its a fun chase!

Today is like a snow day almost. the “CTD rosette” is the main instrument we use every day to collect watersamples at least twice a day. Its like 500,000 ddollars or something crazy like that, and that is how everyone gets their water. Rose wrote about it in her blog if you are interested in reading it. Again, I highly recommend to mom dad, aunt nee, kyle, whomever to read hers. She is getting paid to be here and write a blog and she is doing a great job and interviewing everyday and keeping up with it. ANyway, the CTD is having some errors, so no cast this morning ,which is like a morning off for everyone. I’m sure it will be fixed soon though, so I wanted to take advantage of this time!

About your comments, its weird… the comments wont show up on the webpage until I approve them. And since I am hardly on the computer, it takes me a couple days. But I have gotten them now and I love you guys and I’m so happy to hear about whats going on at home.

On my snow day, I also learned how to tie a few knots.. a bowline knot, a figure 8, and … something else that will save my life

The food is actually great! THey do a great job here. Lots of choices for every meal. Meals are very scheduled. Breakfast 7:30-8:15, Lunch 11:30-12:15, and Dinner 5-5:45. If you miss it, then tough luck.

I did laundry for the first time.. they have a full drawer full of powdered laundry detergent that they’ve emptied out from probably fifty boxes. haha.

They have a movie theatre and a library on board. Library is where I write my blogs, and I haven’t had any time to take advantage of the theatre room, and probably wont. but its still cool that its here.

The crew is soooo cool and nice and they have crazy lifestyles. They work on the ship for months at a time and then go home for months at a time.

Days are getting very very long. sun rise at 5:30ish , and set about 10:30-11ish. By the time we get to iceland then sun will only be down for an hour!!! Summer solstice is today???

Every single corner of the whole ship is so utlitiarian. I wish so badly I could post pictures.

We are working on a cool experiment giving plankton cultures a small dose of virus we captured and treating them with different treatments and looking at the change in the ability of the virus to infect. Its exciting stuff to get results right away while your out here still in the ocean.

I have seen 2 beautiful and colorful Portuguese man of wars!! They are real! Not just in books! And there tentacles look like they go on forever! Thankfully, we were safe in the boat.
I also saw one big blow of a blowhole of a whale in the far far distance. It was ridiculously wonderful because all around the ship were thousands and thousands of krill, they even got up our pipes, so we know that all the whale were there to feed where we were. I only got to see that one, but the look-outs on the bridge where the captain is said they saw a ton of them.

I love everyone so much. I can’t miss breakfast!

love me

oh yea, funny last night was SUPER rocky and I was rolling all around in bed, and I had a dream that geena was driving!!! hahahaha. And in my room I here these super loud noises from the ship and in my dream I think that corresponded to the loud scratches of on the side of the car by her running into things! haha love you geena!

more when i get the chance!

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 21, 2012 5 Comments

  1. 1.    Kyle says:

June 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm  (Edit)

i wasnt exactly sure what a manowar was, so i looked it up, and thats awesome! sometimes they swim in packs of 1000 or more! be safe out there!

  1. 2.    Beverly (Gram) says:

June 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm  (Edit)

How wonderful Rae! What an awesome experience. Sounds like you are really enjoying yourself. Hope you are taking pictures to show everyone later. Your blogs are great. Thanks for keeping us informed. We love and miss you, Gram and Pa

  1. 3.    Mom says:

June 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm  (Edit)

Please don’t ever miss a meal – go back for seconds if you can. Heehee!!!! How’s the seasick working out for you? Keep taking pictures. Love you. PS when you get home, you can help Geena get her 40 hours of drive time since you jinxed her with that funny dream. MISSING YOU!!

  1. 4.    Dad says:

June 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm  (Edit)

Mom said it all! Keep taking pictures and don’t miss any meals. I cracked up when I read about your dream! I’m glad you finally approved us. We miss you and can’t wait to see you. Tell us how your sea-sickness is. I don’t know if you knew this already but Jana is getting married tomorrow! The wedding is at a vineyard and that made me think of you. Write soon. Love you!

  1. 5.    Dad says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm  (Edit)

I know I would never miss a meal! No comments Uncle Mike!

June 17, 2012

June 17th

Happy Fathers Day Dad!!! Miss you!

If I was to have written in yesterday, I would have simply said “so seasick”.
As a matter of fact, all I want to write today is “so seasick” so I can get the heck away from this computer screen. Reading makes it worse and reading what I, myself, type is no better. I feel okay when I sit down at the computer but it takes about twenty minutes to get this screen and by that point I’m ready to run out on deck. They say it will get better.

Until then… follow this blog. We have a woman named Rose who is literally here only to blog. That is her job on the boat, as a part of our “broader impact”. The link ishttp://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/tag/ehux/
and she has pictures.

Excuse me while I run outside.

Miss everyone. Happy fathers day dad  xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 17, 2012 in 11 Comments

  1. 1.    Dad says:

June 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm  (Edit)

Aaaawww Rae Rae! I was worried about this trip when I thought about how car sick you used to get as a little baby girl. Lately, you had seemed to outgrow alot of the motion sickness so I figured you would be just fine. I am sure the others are correct and you will get use to the sea quickly and then you will really start to enjoy yourself. Thanks for thinking of us and I know you will have a great time! We will keep checking back.

  1. 2.    Dad says:

June 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm  (Edit)

We love you like crazy Rae-Rae!

  1. 3.    Anita Stevens says:

June 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm  (Edit)

Feel better, pretty girl!! This, too, shall pass!! xxoo

  1. 4.    Kyle says:

June 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm  (Edit)

Stay strong RaeRae, once the sickness is over itll be way worth going through it!

  1. 5.    Mom says:

June 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm  (Edit)

Rae – I hope you packed dramamine!!! It truely is a lifesaver!!! The babies were asking about Aunt Rachel this weekend and when is she coming home. Gavin remembers more than Junie, but Gavin remembers EVERYTHING!! I just love him. Christian and I took them down to meet Aunt Val on Saturday because Christian is buying her car. We drove about 4 hours each way – the babies were not loving that road trip, yelling at me to take them out of their seats towards the end of the ride. But the car is nice. Geena is loving being out of school but not loving going to swim practice. Her first meet was Saturday and Dad said she was the life of the party, even the players on the other team were talking about that girl and how fun she was. Christian has moved upstairs into your old room. We have made his room into an office/bedroom – so my girl has a bed to sleep in when she comes home. Can’t wait for you to come home. Heather is doing good, she is working at Ethan Allen (Yaaayyyy!!!!) Don’t really see her too much though, with work and friends she’s never really around. Dad and Mom are doing good, keeping very busy. Did we tell you that we went to lunch at the Wild Orchid? Food and atmosphere was great and the building was even cooler with tons and tons of pictures of Annapolis back in the day. Thanks for the gift. Well I think I have talked enough here. Miss you so much and make every day of this trip an exciting memory. Keep taking pictures!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  1. 6.    Dad says:

June 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm  (Edit)

I left a comment the other day Rae-Rae. It said myt comment was under review but it never showed up. I swear I didn’t say any naughty words!! Anyway, thanks for thinking of me on Father’s Day! That meant alot! I am sorry to hear you are sick. Hopefully by the time you read this you will be doing much better. We miss you and are so proud of you! Keep blogging so we can keep up with your adventures. I love you!

  1. 7.    Anita Stevens says:

June 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm  (Edit)


  1. 8.    Anita Stevens says:

June 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm  (Edit)

Rae….This is Aunt Anita! Your mama and dad have both tried to send you notes and it’s not working for them. Here’s one from your mom!!! xxoo
Rae – I hope you packed dramamine!!! It truely is a lifesaver!!! The babies were asking about Aunt Rachel this weekend and when is she coming home. Gavin remembers more than Junie, but Gavin remembers EVERYTHING!! I just love him. Christian and I took them down to meet Aunt Val on Saturday because Christian is buying her car. We drove about 4 hours each way – the babies were not loving that road trip, yelling at me to take them out of their seats towards the end of the ride. But the car is nice. Geena is loving being out of school but not loving going to swim practice. Her first meet was Saturday and Dad said she was the life of the party, even the players on the other team were talking about that girl and how fun she was. Christian has moved upstairs into your old room. We have made his room into an office/bedroom – so my girl has a bed to sleep in when she comes home. Can’t wait for you to come home. Heather is doing good, she is working at Ethan Allen (Yaaayyyy!!!!) Don’t really see her too much though, with work and friends she’s never really around. Dad and Mom are doing good, keeping very busy. Did we tell you that we went to lunch at the Wild Orchid? Food and atmosphere was great and the building was even cooler with tons and tons of pictures of Annapolis back in the day. Thanks for the gift. Well I think I have talked enough here. Miss you so much and make every day of this trip an exciting memory. Keep taking pictures!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  1. 9.    Mike Stevens says:

June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm  (Edit)

RAE-MOND!!! Girl you have no idea how proud of you we are!!! Hope you get your sea legs soon, then you can start to enjoy the voyage! Stay safe and post when you can!

We love you!

  1. 10.  Mom says:

June 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm  (Edit)


  1. 11.  Dad says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm  (Edit)


June 15, 2012

June 15th Part 2

It’s6:00 pm (4 hours ahead of east coast) and we are on the move! And by “move” I mean forward North West, Anddd up and down, and back and forth. I’ve already been bouncing off the walls of the hallway.  Jack estimates about 5 foot swells right now. I wouldnt really know by looking at them yet. (((Also, I meant to mention that these viruses are good for the cycle of life. They are necessary. In my earlier post, I was wrong. But I’ve been wrong about lots on this trip already. Too quick to make conclusions and assumptions. You can’t do that as a scientist!!! )))

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 15, 2012  4 Comments

  1. 1.    Kyle says:

June 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm  (Edit)

Don’t forget your Dramamine!!! I love you!

  1. 2.    Kathleen Caparratto says:

June 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm  (Edit)

Racheal you are so cool
– I love you – I will keep in touch with you and read your letters -when you discribe how you feel when you get seasickness – I can feel it to !!! : ( – I know you’er so happy to be involved with all that you are seeing and learning – enjoy what you get to see -we love you very much Mimi and Pop Pop and uncle Dominck

July 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm  (Edit)

hahaha.. you felt my sea sickness grandma?? THank you for supporting me and giving me your craziness.   xoxoxo I love you

  1. 3.    Dad says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm  (Edit)

“We feel your pain!” in my best Bill Clinton voice.

June 15, 2012

Friday June 15th

It’s departure day! We leave around 4:00 in the afternoon today for the sea!  I have unfortunate news that I can’t upload pictures on the community computers like i was told originally. so many people brought laptops which i definitely didn’t think you could do, nor think would be useful. The community computers are a lot faster, but now I know the issue with them… no picture uploading!!! I have some sick pictures already too. The Azores are beautiful!! We haven’t left Punta Delgada but we’re totally happy here. We’ve been setting up on the ship since day 1 (the 12th) pretty much alll day, and taking meal breaks in the city. Everyone is so helpful and nice and I’ve learned so much already. In addition to Woods Hole and Rutgers, there is also a large team from Israel.  This post is short and sweet and doesn’t begin to tell everything I want to tell. Little time and little internet! Much more later, but I felt I owed my mom an “I’m alive!”. Miss everyone.

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 15, 2012  6 Comments

  1. 1.    Kyle says:

June 15, 2012 at 10:26 am  (Edit)

I think u owe someone else over here an “im alive” as well!

June 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm  (Edit)

I love you Kyle!!!! I wish you could share this with me so bad

  1. 2.    Anita Stevens says:

June 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm  (Edit)

Aunt Anita & Uncle Mike are glad you are “alive”, as well!! Go get ‘em, girl!!! We love you SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!

  1. 3.    Mom says:

June 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm  (Edit)

Awww thanks for the “I’m alive” note, I definitely needed that!!!! Can’t wait to see the pictures. Love and miss you so much!!!!

  1. 4.    Kathleen Caparratto says:

June 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm  (Edit)

Racheal I’m so happy to read your letters to you mom and dad – I’m so proud of you – i hope you have gotting better with the sea sickness – I’m so happy to be able to keep in touch with you – I love you very much

  1. 5.    Dad says:

June 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm  (Edit)


June 10, 2012

Hi! Phytoplankton are Important!


I was incredibly fortunate enough to be invited onto a research vessel this summer to be apart of a mind-blowing oceanographic experience!!!!!!! I will witness some insane science, and will be able to help by contributing whatever my inexperienced self can offer!!!!! For one month College of Charleston, Rutgers, and Woods Hole will be together on one vessel, the Knorr, in a North Atlantic excursion, obtaining data for the human bank of knowledge.


Sorry for the lesson… but this stuff is really cool and I think you should read it.  And I think it fit to introduce why I’m even going to be out in the middle of the Atlantic.

Phytoplankton ♥ make up a little less than half of the primary production on the whole globe. They play an enormous roll in fixating carbon from the atmosphere & sustaining all ocean life. Separate from their impact in the carbon cycle, they have a refined role in the sulfur cycle. DMSP is a sulfur compound present in many marine organisms… mostly micro. Phytoplankton enzymatically break down that DMSP to produce DMS (volatile sulfur compound that oxidize to form cloud nuclei). Basically, they release a compound in the air that essentially encourages clouds to start forming! Wow!  Clouds provide so many beneficial things to this earth such as reflecting of sun’s rays to help with the radiative balance of the globe…keeping the seas cool and comfortable.  This is a beautiful example of mother earth as a self-regulating organism, with both biotic andabiotic links working together to maintain her function and beauty!!!!♥

Emiliania Huxleyi  , a haptophyte phytoplankton is a major player this phytoplankton story. Those plates of armor on the cute spherical primary producer are called coccoliths, have an elaborate story of their own, and contribute to another group name of which E hux belongs, the “coccolithiphores”. They form huge blooms that can been easily spotted in satelite images as a torquoise mass in the sea – sometimes the size of England .

Gorgeous ^^^^

These amazing contributors to the self-regulation of mother earth have a virus!!!. The coccolithovirus. This virus  attacks Ehux, and produces a lipid called glycosphingolipid that causes Ehux to self-destruct! However, it was also discovered that Ehux produces its own lipid to protect it from the virus. Thus a lipid compound “arms-race”  is about for our scientific exploration!

What the heck are we doing!? Studying the phytoplankton-virus relationship & interactions & statistics on how much of the population mortalitiy this virus acccounts for , compared to the population mortality mirco-zooplankton grazing accounts for.

Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Truthfully, I am expecting to do whatever any of these impressive people need me to do. I’ll be there for whatever task they trust me with. I am absolutely okay with this is and am currently typing and getting silly excited.

My goal is to write a paragraph a night to just log what I’m experiencing. As the only undergraduate on the ship, I guess it might be ‘research cruisin in the eyes of the young, excited, and unexperienced!’

I can’t wait for the night sky and every star unimaginable in the Atlantic.

Lets see if I keep this goal up… I’m lucky to have internet access at like longitude 30 latitude 50…whereever that is.

Thanks again Dr. DiTullio!

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 10, 2012 3 Comments

Anita Stevens Submitted on 2012/06/12 at 2:38 amWe’re so excited to follow your adventures aboard the Knorr!!
Cait Arnold Submitted on 2012/06/16 at 5:14 amI had no idea you were the only undergrad! Congratulations I am sure you will have a wonderful time, rock t!
Dad Submitted on 2012/06/24 at 1:28 pmYou da bomb!


June 10, 2012

Knorr is Waiting for Us!

Owned by the Navy and operated by Woods Hole.

The Knorr in the Azores, Portugal awaiting for our arrival in two days! Since 1968 it has sailed over A MILLION miles, and supported the discovery of the Titanic!

You can track our location at this website! http://www.whoi.edu/main/ship-tracker

Depart Punta Delgada, Azores, Portugal June 15th – Arrival Reykjavik, Iceland July 14th

Posted by rachelcstevens on June 10, 2012  1 Comment

Dad Submitted on 2012/06/24 at 1:27 pmHi

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