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Megan’s Field Work Musings

Oceanographic field work has to take place in – you guessed it – the ocean. Most of the time, I sit at my computer and play with Matlab scripts and gigantic stores of data, but every so often one of my fellow Seim lab graduate students (and researcher at the Coastal Studies Institute) Mike Muglia begrudgingly allows me to tag along on some of his much more exciting endeavors. This year, his team took the Tiki XIV out to the Gulf Stream to swap out their ADCP pod planted off the continental shelf – in almost 800 feet of water! The ADCP sits on the seafloor and measures ocean currents up through the water column. The trick is that, unlike my SODAR which uploads its data to the internet at least every day, the ADCP pod must be recovered in order to download any of its data. Mike’s team has been doing this swap a couple times a year – sometimes less – in order to get the most current data (haha!) and to refresh the battery pack in the pod.



The trip on the Tiki will mark my second on a real-live boat, not counting kayaks. Despite raging hurricanes and boundless scurvy (or was it boundless hurricanes and raging scurvy…), Captain Stormy* brought us through in one piece. Here is what I would have live-tweeted, had there been cell service in the Atlantic.

*I can’t make this stuff up.

August 24, 2015 2:35 PM

Driving to Maryland. Why didn’t we leave out of Morehead? #logisticssayno

August 24, 2015 2:45 PM

In Virginia. #So.Many.Trees


(x) Edt.

August 24, 2015 6:22 PM

I get to scratch the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel off my bucket list. #13dollalata #srslylookatthisthing #marvelofengineering



August 24, 2015 10:40 PM

Made it to Ocean City, and everyone is sitting around watching surfing competitions and eating cookies because apparently that’s what phys. oceanographers do.

August 25, 2015 2:00 AM

Boat engines start, and we begin our steam to the Gulf Stream. #youthoughtearlylawnmowingwasbad

August 25, 2015 9:30 AM

Eat an apple. Throw it up.

August 25, 2015 1:00 PM

People are fishing. Is this legal? #clearlynotthelibertarianontheboat (it is legal. Who am I?)

August 25, 2015 1:25 PM

Mike caught an Oahu. And filleted it on the deck. #goodthingItookthatdramamine

August 25, 2015 1:47 PM

More fish. Tile fish apparently? There’s also flying fish all over the boat. I feel like Piscine.

August 25, 2015 2:13 PM

I pass out. #dramamineprobz

August 25, 2015 4:30 PM

Chummin’ for sharks. Nobody knows what kind they are. Finally, I’m in the same boat. #pun? #anybody?

August 25, 2015 6:35 PM

Wahoo (not Oahu, Megan) for dinner.

August 26, 2015 9:45 AM

Finally at the old ADCP location. Now we gotta watch for it as they send the signal for it to pop.

August 26, 2015 9:58 AM

Pod sighted. I used binoculars. Like a birder. Or Nigel Thornberry.

August 26, 2015 10:08 AM

Imagine a construction site. Now imagine it on a boat. That’s what’s happening here.

August 26, 2015 10:09 AM

Mike and crew are going to rope this old pod like a rodeo bull and lift it into the boat with a big wench. #oceanskills


August 26, 2015 10:27 AM

That wench is also used to lift up the new pod and ease it on down to the seafloor.

August 26, 2015 10:29 AM

#Plottwist! This one’s got a camera on it. We get to watch it fall down ~700 ft to its final resting place. For a year anyway.

August 26, 2015 10:45 AM

As the camera pans the ocean bottom, we see the ADCP line from a few cycles ago. Remarkable location pinpointation!

August 26, 2015 1:15 PM

Mike hooks himself while fishing. #blooderrwhere #justkidding #notthatmuchblood

August 26, 2015 3:19 PM

They caught a dolphin! (That’s a dolphinfish, or mahimahi) #likethat’snotconfusingatall

August 26, 2015 4:17 PM

As if the actual dolphins had heard my inner fan-girling over their passing mention, they decided to pay the Tiki a visit.


August 27, 2015 8:00 AM

I wake up early so I can pop another one of my Dramz. #whydoibother

August 27, 2015 11:00 AM

Annnddd….. I’m asleep again (we’re just steaming today anyway)

August 27, 2015 2:34 PM

There is literally nothing to do on this boat.

August 27, 2015 8:47 PM

Oh there’s Ocean City. Easily mistaken for the Jersey Shore.

August 27, 2015 9:30 PM

We dock, and I hop in the car to drive 6 hours back to Chapel Hill.

August 28, 2015 1:41 AM

Don’t ever listen to Serial driving through the woods late at night. #sendhelp


Until next time, Tiki!


One thought on “Megan’s Field Work Musings

  1. Pingback: Lab Life- Winter Edition | UNder the C

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