Our first round of back-to-back dredging (for 11 days) came to a close with a rainbow-blessed deployment, and grew even more exciting when a pod of pilot whales joined us.  The “whale watchers” took photos from a port side upper deck, and as some of us were preparing the last dredge deployment, Captain Dave fished on the starboard side.


Charlie, Mark, Elya and Iker enjoy whale watching!


Rainbow deployment gets even more interesting (see whale breaching).


The last whale passing by.


Captain Dave and the rainbow.

Now that we have a break from dredging, it’s time organize our data. An enormous amount of data is collected while at sea. Much of it is collected digitally, ultimately summing to terabytes of computer storage space. But a good deal of data is first collected by hand and then entered into spreadsheets. This is particularly true of the dredge and rock description information. For this, we do things the old-fashioned way: filling out paper forms on clipboards.

Dominik describing rocks, and hand-writing the information on the description form.

Of course, with hand-written forms, it’s important that each of us can actually read each other’s writing. And we have discovered something interesting: it turns out that our highly international team writes certain numbers differently (potentially leading to confusion). Here are numbers 0-9 for each of us – and accompanying analysis

0-9 written by science party and some crew members.


We noticed that scientists from Spain, Poland and Russia write the number 1 like Americans write the number 7.  Also, a number of people write the number 9 more in a style that seems to some like a lowercase g.  We are split about half and half between those who write 8’s as two separate circles and those who write it as a continuous figure.  We also noticed that Joe and Elysia have particularly clear and legible writing, each character of equal height and width. When asked how they developed such nice writing, Elysia mentioned that one of her elementary school teachers made her wear a finger brace, and we can only assume that Joe was forced to eat gruel in his primary school in England until he got his numbers right.