Herb, the Ron Brown's champion ping pong player.

Herb, Ron Brown's champion ping pong player trying to teach Kyle a thing or two. Click image for larger view.

When all the work is said and done....

September 9, 2002

Lisa M. Weiss, Watershed Coordinator
Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve

Thus far my logs have been filled with information about surveying this, mapping that, sampling this, cooking that, fixing this, maintaining that. Believe it or not, in between all the work and research, there is time for some fun and relaxation, but we are limited in our activities.

What can you do on the Ron Brown to keep yourself busy during "off" time? You can't take your dog for a walk or go for a run around the neighborhood. There is a ship's store, but it's not like the stores we know at home. If you want to call your friends, it will cost you about $3.00 a minute! So, what is it that we find to do, you may be asking. Well, there's...

Ping pong

The Ron Brown has a ping pong table set up in one of the larger rooms on the ship. It is open to everyone, but be careful of Herb, one of the engineers, because he is famous for his mean game. Apparently he is the man to beat out here—a real whiz with the mallet.

A nighttime movie showing

A group gathered for the eight o'clock movie showing. Every night there are two movie choices, one at 6pm and one at 8pm. Click image for larger view.

Movie nights
Being on the Ron Brown has certainly allowed me the opportunity to catch up on my movie watching. Every night two movies are shown—one at 6pm and the other at 8pm. The ship acquires its movie collection from the US Navy, so there are movies on board that have barely made it off the big screen. We have about 400 movies to choose from! If there is a movie that you want to see during the course of the trip, you put your selection on a list. There is the option of watching movies in the ship's lounge or, for those people with a television, there is the option of watching the movies in your room.

I have done more reading on the Ron Brown in two weeks than I have done in three years! It is rare to find someone that isn't reading something. The ship has a library with a very good collection of books, and many people onboard are willing to give recommendations of their favorite reads.

There was a time on ships when you could be at sea for weeks, or months, or even longer, and have little to no communication with friends and family at home. This is no longer the case. In this world of advanced technology, we are very fortunate to have two email transmissions a day (8am and 6pm). Email is the way that I have been sending these logs everyday, and the way everyone keeps tabs on the events of the world. I find myself excited for email sends and receives because they offer me a distraction from the confines of the ship.

We are surrounded by fish at all times. We have not been very successful in our fishing, except for Kyle who caught a squid, but fishing and trolling is frequently an option onboard the Ron Brown.

Laura Cottrell on the treadmill in the Ron Brown's gym.

Laura running on the treadmill in the Ron Brown's gym. Believe me, it's not as easy as it looks while we are underway! Click image for larger view.

Working out
Fortunately, the Ron Brown has a good-sized gym. There are two treadmills—one for walking and one for running, and two stationary bikes—one reclining and one upright. The gym also has a rowing machine, free weights and a universal machine. Although it is sometimes hard to stay on the treadmill or workout in rough weather, staying in good physical condition helps to maintain a healthy attitude, as Mike Hoshlyck explains in the September 6th log. Laura, one of the scientists, is training for the New York City marathon. So she wrestles with the treadmill on a daily basis. Just like back at home, working out on the ship becomes a part of your day, something that helps to relieve the pressures of the day.

Sunrises, sunsets and star gazing
Anyone who has seen a sunrise or sunset knows the wonder of these sights. Picture these images, with nothing but water all around. It is spectacular. People that have spent time at sea will speak of the infamous "green flash." On a clear night, with calm seas, the green flash refers to the moment that the last bit of daytime sun ducks below the watery horizon. Some claim it is a myth, a old legend of the sea, but I have seen it with my own two eyes (and a pair of binoculars) on this trip.

A sunset viewed while on the Ron Brown.

A favorite evening activity, sunset watching. If you are lucky enough and have a good pair of binoculars, you might be able to see the green flash! Click image for larger view.

Because of the constant operations of the ship, people are awake at all hours of the day and night. Some people get to see the sunrise, along with the sunset (those of us lucky enough to be on the 4 to 8 am/pm watch). Others get to see the brilliant night sky, just yesterday illuminated with the northern lights and the Milky Way. No matter what atmospheric events you may be lucky enough to experience, nothing is as breathtaking as the first light rising over the horizon into a clear morning sky.



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