No Regrets

posted Jul 10, 2012, 10:08 AM by Shannon Bresnahan
This is my last blog entry before the end of the cruise and believe me, there are a lot of things that I’d like to say, but no worries, I’ll keep it short.

First of all I’d like to thank all of those who made this experience possible, not only for me, but for all the members of the San Diego Coastal Expedition. Second, I’d like to thank Carlos (Yes, Carlos…he told me not to use the “Dr.” anymore, so, here I am being a bit more informal), he has been an amazing mentor, and has proven to be both an incredible comedian and a top notch German professor! Wunderbar!

I came to this cruise with no idea of what I was getting myself into, and to this day I have not found a reason not to feel extremely happy with my decision of joining. If they were to invite me again, I would accept in a heartbeat, because now I can say with all confidence there is nothing like working at sea.

Photo: Elvira (right) and her fellow shipmates practice wearing their
survival suits during a ship safety training exercise.

But before I say my goodbyes, I want to talk about what I’ve been doing. For the past days I’ve done my share of multicoring; however the highlight was definitely helping with the otter trawling. Oh the joys of trawling! It was a pretty intense yet fun experience! For those who do not know what trawling is, well, it’s pretty much a way of collecting a fauna sample from a specific area of the ocean. As I said, trawling was fun, but to say it was messy is an understatement! Nevertheless it was nice to hold and observe organisms larger than a polychaete (not that I have anything against those lovely worms, of course!). Flat fish, crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks! You name it, it was there, and thanks to Mike and Amanda I got to learn a lot about the organisms inhabiting the San Diego margin.

Photo: Elvira helps with the otter trawl.

Overall, this experience made me realize that I made the right career choice. You know that saying “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life” (or something along those lines), well, that is exactly how I feel about this. Who knows, one day I might get a chance to come back to the Melville, and hopefully not as an undergrad…but I’ll leave it there, I don’t want to jinx it!

Photo: (L-R) Svenja, Jesse, and Elvira find the fun in night operations on deck.

Ruined pants, holey socks, crazy dirty shoes, peeling nose, achy back, and bruises all over…and you know what? I couldn’t be happier. The San Diego Coastal Expedition set the bar really high for other cruises to come. But all good things come to an end, and from this one I take with me a bunch of amazing memories, a huge deal of new ideas and knowledge, new friends (or should I say, the scientists of tomorrow!), new adventures, and a crazy amount of pictures! (believe me, I’m sad I’m only able to share a couple).

Photo: New friends!

So, this is goodbye! I hope you enjoyed reading the adventures of a pretty lucky undergrad that sneaked into the wonderful world of oceanographic science on board the Melville. Just one tiny piece of advice: If you ever get the chance to go to sea, DO IT. YOU WONT REGRET IT!

-- Elvira Hernandez Lopez, UC San Diego undergraduate student