24 November, 1995
to Steve Stevenoski's Page
November 24, 1995
Location: 66 32' South Latitude x 95 70' West Longitude
Today I lived the color gray, every hue, every subtle variation. I
attended the universal gray convention. Today I joined the church of gray.
Gray was everywhere today. It was almost like a religion with its ten
commandments of gray. If gray could have a hall of fame, I was locked
inside it today. I discovered that gray is not just a color, but it is a
smell, a taste, a sound as well. It is an aura, a feeling. I have lived a
24 hour recurring nightmare of gray. I have been to the edge of the gray
abyss, and have come back forever changed by that experience.
I just cannot seem to shake how the sea and the sky were absent of any
color other than gray. The ocean was not blue, it was gray. The sky and the
clouds were gray. The sun even got caught up in the melancholy. I
patiently waited for the evening sun to paint on the dusk sky from its
palette in orange, yellow and red. It never happened.
The waves gently rocked our ship, lulling us to sleep away the somber gray
hours of the day.
As we make our transit, we have reached a point now, where we are far
enough north of the Antarctic Ice shelf, that we rarely see ice. I miss
the ice. I miss the way everyone on the ship would talk of the shapes and
the color and the magic of the ice. I miss also the feeling that when we
were in the ice, we had become part of something bigger, some plan, some
greater whole. Out here in the ocean it is very easy to feel alone and
separated. The grayness of the day made its way into the mood of the people
on the ship. Everyone seemed just a bit quiet, a little reserved. Some
doctors and scientists say that the weather can have a profound affect on
how you feel. I am a living case study.
The science marches on with the waves. Each day we continue to collect
multi beam data of the sea floor. Occasionally we see variations in the
features of this mostly flat basin. It is these little changes, bumps on
the sea floor, that are exciting to the scientists. These maps that are
being made reveal features never before seen. They provide a small glimpse
of a huge sea floor system that has been formed over millions of years by
the slow plate tectonic motions.
The act of collecting data to produce sea floor maps is a scientific
adventure. It is a search for the new and unseen. Like adventurers that
discovered continents, the scientists are in a race to be the first. The
race for the scientists is a race to be first, to collect, analyze and
interpret data, and ultimately to publish so that their findings can be
shared within the scientific community.
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