I will be at sea for the next 3 and a half weeks or so. Ask me anything!

A shot of the fantail: http://imgur.com/KklPQ3O

Sunset, storm, science: http://imgur.com/6w1b4Pp&JcIflBO&VjmyQuO&FvzRMRe

(have to click second and third image over the pic to see the others)

Comments: 509 • Responses: 87  • Date: 

Stevesie79 karma

I can provide somewhat proof. I am on the vessel with this person.

JustYourBestFriend58 karma

On the Belafonte? Team Zissou?!?!

dilltx1834 karma

No lol but that sounds like a ship I wanna be on.

kraeftig22 karma

You, at least, still get glocks, right? Right?!?!

dilltx182 karma

I mean i dont, but im sure they are around

dilltx182 karma

i mean i dont, but im sure they are there.

dilltx1847 karma

And I can confirm that.

dilltx1811 karma


fromman00355 karma

Is it Penny's boat?

dilltx1823 karma

I don't know a Penny, so probably not?

fromman00318 karma

It's a lost thing. Not an actual question. But to make me seem like not a total time waster, besides reddit, what do you do to keep yourself entertained?

dilltx1828 karma

Well for the first week and half or so we were in transit to our first buoy. So that was rough, i had infinite time to do whatever. There is a bench out on the fantail that I like to sit on and watch the flying fish do their thing. I can normally kill an hour or so out there at any given time. I also brought The Illiad and The Odyssey and I have been reading that. Every now and then I'll help launch a weather balloon.

But since we actually got to the buoy I have been relatively busy, taking samples and what not. And we are there to recover and replace the buoys, which takes about 10 hours so there are always parts of that process that are fun to watch.

Captainsealion47 karma

Welcome to Reddit and to Marine Science. I'm on the "Polarcus Nadia" South of Myanmar in the Andaman Sea.

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shipdetails.aspx?mmsi=311012200 or www.onthebigbluewetthing.blogspot.com

The cool thing here is that we're both bouncing data off of satellites from the middle of the ocean.

We're an Ice Class X-bow vessel so god only knows what were doing in tropical waters but here we are. Anyhow Welcome Again! Which Vessel are you on... That big A-Frame looks like the Knorr or the Atlantis...

dilltx1829 karma

Check your private messages, good sir.

pizzabyjake24 karma

Nice try Japanese whaling vessel.

dilltx183 karma


owl_man23 karma

100 Shark sized Pelicans or one Pelican sized Shark?

Am I doing this right?

dilltx1834 karma

I'm not sure, but one pelican sized shark for sure. I'd bap it right on the head!

creamy_jesus22 karma

That sounds pretty cool! How did you get the job and/or what is your educational background (college degrees, training, etc...)?

dilltx1840 karma

I am a meteorology major at Texas A&M, this is a kind of internship for me.

followthedarkrabbit10 karma

I'm jealous. My internship turned out to basically be as an unpaid data entry bitch. Have an amazing time :)

dilltx182 karma

Thank you!

iamaredditer7 karma

Gig em Aggies and Go Johnny Heisman.

dilltx1812 karma

Hell. yes.

Noisewaves17 karma

Oh I know you! You did research on thorium dust. Gig em!

dilltx1818 karma

Woah! Yes I did! Did I meet you at AGU?

Noisewaves8 karma

No I think I was in your research group last semester.

dilltx1817 karma

Huh, look at your private messages. let's talk there so we don't flood this.

theresaviking12 karma

This whole thread is just people who have turned out to know each other.

dilltx182 karma

Really just one or two people, i think.

[deleted]2 karma


dilltx182 karma


dilltx1818 karma

I updated with proof

thetebe14 karma

What is your role on the ship? Research or crew? Both?

And proof.

dilltx1817 karma

I am research, doing the above work. As for proof, is there a way to upload a picture on here that isn't like a link to an imagur host? I am kind of new to reddit.

thetebe7 karma

Ah, can you explain roughly what your research is?

No, it needs to be an imagehost. Snag.gy is a site where you can print screen right into, cut the image and hit save. The link is postable here.

dilltx1818 karma

I am with a group of scientists that have a variety of jobs. One group is doing some aerosol work (the kinds of particulates in the air, how big they are, and to what abundance), another group is here to recover and replace an array if bouys that monitor basic weather conditions for the area, and I work with the group collecting water samples along the way.

thetebe7 karma

That is facinating. Where do you guys ship out from? Are you an international crew?

dilltx1814 karma

The ship I think is ported in Charleston, SC? I am not 100%, though. The crew is not international, but the buoys we are servicing are owned by the US, Brazil, and France. Or at least the program that put them out there is run by them.

thetebe5 karma

Im not sure how you are connected with the politics of the project, but do you think that research is getting more and more international with less problems due to it being several countries involved?

What I am trying to ask is: Earlier on there seemed to be a problem with countries using research as a power play. Is that something you guys see anything of now, or is the research shared?

dilltx1812 karma

Well I can only give my very limited opinion. This array of buoys has been around for nearly a decade I think, so this particular venture is nothing new. The kinds of cruises like the one I am on don't typically have foreign scientists, but the hardware itself could be a multi-national thing. I don't think I really answered your question and I'm sorry, but I am not quite "in the know" on that one.

thetebe6 karma

Thats ok. I was just curious. It seems to me that if you don't know about it, it is probably less of a problem. If it was massive you would probably hear people moan about it.

Thank you for your time, sir/sirette.

dilltx189 karma

Sir :) thanks for the questions

seafoamium5 karma

I think you might be on the boat that my boyfriend will be boarding in a few weeks for his own cruise. He just told me where it is now and what's happening, and your stories line up... quite nicely. :)

dilltx182 karma

Interesting, where is he slated to go?

grndnl3 karma

What is this snaggy and how does it work.

dilltx186 karma

I think it is like imagur.

iamaredditer13 karma

What are you using for internet connection?

dilltx1824 karma

It is all satellite driven I think. It isn't particularly strong, sometimes I can't even download pdf files.

Senor_Wilson12 karma

That sucks... PDF is the greatest electronic text format.

dilltx183 karma

heard that.

throwaway_not_obamac11 karma

I dated a girl who worked on one of these vessels years ago. She emailed me that she had written me a letter and would post it when they reached the "mail buoy." I guess the crew was having fun at her expense. Is this a known joke on these vessels?

dilltx182 karma

Not that i am aware of, a mail buoy sounds a little sketch.

SonOfGonad7 karma

One of the biggest fears that I have is of being on a boat/ship out in a large body of water for an extended period of time. The idea of the isolation and inability to leave the confines of whatever functioning piece of flotilla that would keep me above the vast depths of the ocean, without any land in site, almost sends me over the edge thinking about it.

Do you have any fears such as this? Do any of the other crew?

dilltx187 karma

I imagine the crew forgot those fears a long time ago, this isn't their first rodeo after all. I was certain I would be a little scared of the isolation and the night, but so far I have surprised myself. The ship is state of the art, and I trust the crew explicitly. Although, I did have a panic attach my first week because I was seasick and just could not escape it anywhere on the ship. I feared I would go crazy from not being able to get away from the churning for the next 5 weeks, but that too, has passed.

TragicHero847 karma

Have you seen any sharks or whales?? If so, what kinds?

dilltx1819 karma

No sharks, and I don't think whales are migrating in this area this time of year. I've seen some squid, mahi-mahi, tuna, and this one gull that got stuck on our ship too far from land that I named Petree. Oh and dolphins, and someone said they saw a loggerhead turtle.

EffeCt70111 karma

Is Petree still there? Is he ok?

dilltx1818 karma

I haven't seen him in a few days :( there was a big storm a couple days ago and I think it may have blown him away.

TragicHero846 karma

Sounds amazing! I'm studying marine biology so you are living my fantasy right now!

dilltx189 karma

I have a good friend who studies marine biology at Oregon State, she says the same thing. I am hoping for some more animals when we get closer to land, but we'll see!

OceanCarlisle6 karma

You said what it is that you and the other scientists do aboard the ship, but why? Why are they studying aerosol particles, and why on a ship? What is the purpose of studying the weather via buoy array of the area (what area btw?). And what are the water samples you are collecting for?

Also, thanks for doing this, Ama is one of my favorite things about Reddit.

dilltx1813 karma

The aerosol people are specifically looking at the abundance of African dust blown over from the Sahara Desert. There is a lot of active research going right now in the world about the affect of aerosols on global climate and weather phenomenon. They are here collecting data to study back at their respective Universities.

We are servicing an array of buoys around and along the Equator, which is the birthplace of most Atlantic hurricanes. The buoys are there to monitor this area, as well as for anyone else wanting data on air temp, precip, wind speeds, sea-surface temp, salinity, etc. All of this data is measured by the buoy and beamed to land and archived. Scientists can get this data for whatever research they are doing.

The water samples we are collecting are standard procedure on these kinds of cruises. We measure oxygen and salinity levels from the samples around buoys to help calibrate them when they are first deployed. And again, the samples go in a database that can then be accessed by anyone for their research projects.

No problem! This is my first one and it's fun!

iamaredditer6 karma

What are sleeping arrangements like? Do you have a hard time getting to sleep or does the motion of the ocean kind of rock you to sleep? Do you have privacy to fap?

dilltx1821 karma

I have my own stateroom down in the forward berthing of the ship. The first few nights it was hard to sleep with all the motion, but you get used to it. If anything, the slow rocking kind of rocks you to sleep. Where I am it can suck though because the anchor will bash against the ship and it sounds like the world is gonna end. And I am not at liberty to discuss the status of my fapping at this time.

inkslave7 karma

Can you post a pic? Curious how much space you have, how fancy or spartan....

dilltx182 karma

I'll update when I have a moment

tunersharkbitten2 karma

When you get back, it will be hard to sleep without all the sway. I was on a 210 for 2 months. I still miss getting rocked to sleep.

dilltx183 karma

that is what i've heard. i have a feeling ill just feel drunk for a couple weeks afterward.

Master2u5 karma

Can you fish off the boat or is there generally not much to catch where you are?

dilltx1814 karma

Well these buoys that we are servicing develop there own little ecosystems. They are the only things out there for thousands of miles, so fish hang around them. It takes about 10 hours to recover and replace a buoy, so we fish off the side. So far we caught a few tuna and a baby mahi-mahi. The tuna we sent up to the cooks for dinner, the mahi we threw back.

boomfarmer3 karma

When you replace the buoy, what do you do with the stuff scraped off the old one?

dilltx183 karma

throw it overboard, normally its just barnacles and stuff.

cleverusername942 karma

next time eat it! mahi mahi is delicious and theyre beautiful fish

dilltx182 karma

We had a little mahi-mahi the first week, but it wasn't freshly caught. I've heard it's great though!

iamaredditer5 karma

How large is the vessel your on?

dilltx1812 karma

I believe it is 275ft.

my_man_krishna2 karma

Can you explain the unusual shape of the hull? I haven't seen a bow like that on anything but pre-dreadnoughts and other such antiques.

dilltx182 karma

The fantail? That is an a-frame used to pulley up heavy things that we are recovering from the ocean. I think that is what you are talking about.

psycho455 karma

How's the night sky? What's the best part of the trip? The worst?

dilltx183 karma

the sky sky, when clear is amazing. so many stars! Best part of the trip so far has been the views, the sky is so big and you can just see all these storms develop without any obstruction. the worst was the seasickness i had the first week. suuuuucked!

bonyhawk4 karma

Are you James Cameron?

dilltx189 karma

Psh, I wish! Making bank, that guy!

Joysrs4 karma

Are you cold?

dilltx188 karma

Tonight is the chilliest night we have had since leaving port, but that is mostly due to the stiff breeze. Normally it is relatively sunny and muggy.

Ginganinja1824 karma

How do I do what you do

dilltx183 karma

network and just ask around. worst they can do is tell you no.

iamaredditer4 karma

How's the food?

dilltx1811 karma

It is pretty good actually. It kind of has to be to keep morale up for this long of an operation.

cethaliophia8 karma

3 and a half weeks long?

Pfff. Try seven on a vessel where you eat nothing but pasta.

dilltx182 karma

Well the whole thing is 5 weeks, but we have 3 left. and yeah that sounds rough.

Master2u4 karma

What is it like being stuck on a tiny boat that long?

dilltx1812 karma

The first week was terrible. There was a huge low pressure system that kicked up some nasty swells. This is my first cruise, so I got pretty seasick. Since then I've been on some good medication so I have come to really enjoy the ride. It is strange to wake up to the same horizon every day, but I enjoy the company of the crew and the other scientists so that helps.

Bonejunky2 karma

Do you think that Gravol would work for suppressing seasickness?

dilltx182 karma

I dont know what that is?

Master2u3 karma

Do you ever see anything out of the ordinary out there?

dilltx1810 karma

Out of the ordinary for me or out of the ordinary for the ocean? A couple days ago we had the huuuuuge storm kick up in about an hour. Completely out of nowhere. We watched it roll in and right over us around sunset, made the water turn red and bloody looking. It was very cool. I'll upload a pic if I get time.

TheDemonator3 karma

op will deliver

dilltx184 karma

I updated with those pics.

hhhnnnnnggggggg3 karma

What is your profession exactly that allowed you on the ship with the buoy guys? Do buoys ever get destroyed?

dilltx189 karma

I am intern kind of thing, I'm a meteorology student at Texas A&M. The other scientists though are research scientists at various labs and Universities around the country.

Buoys can get damaged, or even vandalized. We recovered one yesterday that had a crack down the side, probably from a boat running into it. And we recovered one today that had some missing instruments, likely stolen by fishermen.

seafoamium2 karma

How frustrating. Don't they know there's science happening?!

dilltx182 karma

They must, they know it will get replaced in a year so they can come back and steal some more.

a_soy_milkshake2 karma

Why would fisherman want to steal weather monitoring instruments? Aside from the obvious "to monitor the weather", I'm assuming they are relatively hi-tech and require a special understanding to either operate or extract data, so yeah, why take them?

dilltx183 karma

exactly, they may steal them to sell for parts. also, they could have just fallen off in inclement weather, but somehow i doubt that.

stay_puft_man3 karma

What kind of research are you doing that requires you to be at sea so long?

dilltx1814 karma

I am with a group of scientists that have a variety of jobs. One group is doing some aerosol work (the kinds of particulates in the air, how big they are, and to what abundance), another group is here to recover and replace an array if bouys that monitor basic weather conditions for the area, and I work with the group collecting water samples along the way.

hhhnnnnnggggggg3 karma

Is it frightening at all? Is this your first time?

dilltx1810 karma

This is my first time (and I am the only one on board who hasn't been on a cruise before) and there have been a couple scary moments. About 3 hours after we left port, we ran fire, man overboard, and abandon ship drills. That was all well and good, but about 45 minutes later there was an actual fire! One of the 3 generators blew up! We almost turned around at that point, but they fixed it up.

And then just tonight, we have gotten into some higher winds and are we pitching pretty good. We had a series of strong pitches and I guess something got knocked loose, but the power went out on the whole ship. So that was terrifying. I had to remind myself that I wasn't on a plane and power did not necessarily equate to flotation. But we are up and running again, about 3 days from land!

aabce112353 karma

What are the various ways in which computers and applications help you study the ocean? Are they developed in-house or do you ask vendors to develop them (hardware and software)?

dilltx182 karma

We have a room just dedicated to our mainframe, keeping our computers up and running, satellites and what not. I don't know anything terribly specific as far as what hardware we have, but we use computers in almost all the science we do. They track the weather balloons we launch, the probes we drop in the ocean, and buoys we are tracking down. Computers help us analyze and compile the data for later use. I pretty much don't understand how we did science without them.

watabit3 karma

How much personal space and free time do you have?

dilltx186 karma

Well the first 10 days or so have been just transit. We have to get to where we are going before the science can happen, so I have had nothing BUT free time for awhile. I only just thought about doing this tonight. I have my own stateroom, but I share a bathroom. And there is always somewhere on deck I can sit quietly if I need some fresh air.

fishp0ker3 karma

Congrats on your first cruise! It's an amazing thing. I'm 23 and have 84 closer to 100 (forgot about one) days at sea under my belt already :) My first few had no internet, you're a lucky one!

How crazy is it to stare at the stars at night? How many books have you gotten through? Hang out on the bridge yet? The captains usually love company and love to laugh and show you around Doing any trawling? How's your bunk? Bunkmates? Does the ship have any cool stuff like a gym or theater (some of NOAAs ships do!) Isn't taking a shower weird as anything when the water moves side to side? If there is a gym, is there a treadmill, and have you tried to run on it? It's way a weirder experience than the shower.

PS: For anyone who ever wants to go on a cruise, many research operations advertise for civillian volunteers (yay free labor). I've been on two scallop cruises with the NEFSC out of Woods Hole, MA and got to take 20 lbs of seafood home with me :) Google them, email them. I just got a request for volunteers for a spring bottom trawl actually.. going up the US east coast. Pity I work full-time on land now or I'd be on it in a heartbeat :(

Have fun!

Source: I'm a marine biologist and stuff

Edit: Before anyone wonders... we only took food from legal fishing zones. We ain't no Japanese whale scientists.

dilltx182 karma

Good to hear from you! Rapid fire: yes the stars are amazing, I'm reading the Odyssey right now, I go up to the bridge every now and then (lots of swaying), no trawling, my bunk is super comfy, no bunkmates, we have a gym and a theater, showers are in fact strange, haven't tried the treadmill yet, and i agree with your PS!

ConMan983 karma

Watcha researching?

dilltx182 karma

There are 3 groups here doing stuff and I am with a group taking water samples along the way. We analyze them for oxygen and salinity concentrations throughout the water column. We can use that to calibrate buoys in the area and the values goes online for other researchers to access for their projects.

people19252 karma

Do you ever go star crazy? Being on that ship with the same people every day?

dilltx182 karma

There was one point where i didn't think i was gonna make it 5 weeks, but it passed. You just have to learn to keep your mind busy.

[deleted]2 karma

In Life of Pi, a popular book right now, the narrator claims that while traveling boats cannot see the extent of ocean life but while stationary many fish and creatures can be seen. Although he was in the Pacific in the book do you find this to be true?

dilltx182 karma

Around the buoys definitely, but we aren't stationary for very long otherwise.

itsambition2 karma


dilltx183 karma

Food has been pretty good and i've heard that is fairly typical ship-to-ship. Good food is good for morale while at sea for so long. I doubt anyone really does like lunchables every day anymore.

Juicy_Cooter2 karma

Have you stood at the front of the boat and shouted "I'm king of the world" yet?

dilltx183 karma

quietly, and by myself.

Merry_Pranksters2 karma

Holy shit! My dream has always been to work with deep sea marine biology, I'm currently getting a chemistry degree and I always thought it'd be cool to explore the deep sea like an undersea astronaut (oceanaut?) What do you find to be the most rewarding part of working on the ship? Do you see yourself doing this again in the future? How many people are aboard the ship? What has been the greatest moment on the ocean, for you? (you don't have to answer all of them, I love the ocean so anything will suffice :D)

dilltx182 karma

the most rewarding part i think is the real time data acquisition. normally i got to a database to get data, but here i am the one filling the database. I could see myself doing this again, but not for a few months. I will be all cruised out after this. Greatest moment so far has been a storm that rolled in a few days ago at sunset, it was just amazing and it turned the water all red.

angrath2 karma

What sort of things did people bring on board for extended entertainment? I assume you aren't just connecting to Netflix for movies or anything like that.

dilltx182 karma

No, we don't have the bandwidth for that. People brought books, or just their laptops to surf the web. I haven't really seen anyone pacing bored.

whichwitch92 karma

Are you on one of the survey trips?

dilltx182 karma

No, buoy recovery and maintenance.

thedro2 karma

How do I get your job?

dilltx182 karma

Network and just simply ask around. worst they can do is tell you no.

consumeradvocacy2 karma

How lonely and isolated does it feel in the middle of the ocean? Also, how insanely expensive is the internet?

dilltx182 karma

Not terribly, there is a lot of people here to keep you company. and i dont have to pay for internet thank goodness.

Iam_MittRomney2 karma

I response to your second pic of the sunset storm, I remember NorthLant's Giant swells, I miss it so much.

dilltx183 karma

I could live without the huge swells, but i love the storms.

Iam_MittRomney2 karma

I did satellite comm on the Truman. There was nothing quite like going aloft right after a storm.

dilltx183 karma

I agree, we have only had one major storm so far though. Luckily it isn't hurricane season.

Iam_MittRomney2 karma

Traveling in hurricane season was always fun. What class of ship are you on?

dilltx182 karma

ill have to get back to you on that, i'm not sure of the classification system.

[deleted]2 karma

Have you looked at the stars while you're out there? Does the night sky viewed from the middle of the ocean look as awesome as I think it does?

dilltx182 karma

Yes and hell yes, see about 2 shooting stars every clear night.

verbalsoze2 karma

Have you fapped while on the vessel and have you watched porn using the satellite connection?

dilltx182 karma

See above response to fapping.

turtleman4542 karma

what are you researching? where are you?

dilltx182 karma

There are 3 groups here doing stuff and I am with a group taking water samples along the way. We analyze them for oxygen and salinity concentrations throughout the water column. We can use that to calibrate buoys in the area and the values goes online for other researchers to access for their projects. Can't say where I am exactly right now, just tropical Atlantic.

Iam_MittRomney2 karma

Having been in the Navy, and Now doing tech work, I am Crazy jealous of you. Is there a place I can apply?

dilltx183 karma

I am a student right now on an internship kind of thing. I'm sure there are places you can apply to be crew or whatever, but I honestly don't know where to send you.

ImperialJustice951 karma

no proof?

dilltx184 karma

Same question, how can I upload a picture? I am new here.

ImperialJustice951 karma

you can copy a url link from imgur to reddit

dilltx183 karma

updated with proof

ImperialJustice952 karma

So, you are new to reddit. Well, welcome to a place where you can share anything or comment on anything you like. Do you have any questions on anything? sub-reddits?

dilltx183 karma

Not specifically about reddit. I mean I've browsed for about a month, but this is only second post. And thank you!

buttcruncher1 karma

you should check out rule 34(/r/rule34) of the internet

dilltx184 karma

Not really into the cartoon thing...

buttcruncher2 karma

I just find it interesting that things like that exist serious question though. Is there any other area in the world that you would like to have your next cruise in? and a possible reason why?

dilltx186 karma

Either through the Arctic Circle or the Southern Ocean. I think a cruise through icebergs would be incredibly nerve wracking, but unbelievable breathtaking.

[deleted]0 karma


dilltx1817 karma

.....the fuck?

DirtPile9 karma

What did he say?

dilltx181 karma

something about licking balls.

SockDrawerDemon0 karma

Try not to 'research' too many whales to death!

dilltx183 karma

Hey now, i know what you are referring to and that is not what we are about.