Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mi Casa es Su Casa : A tour of the living quarters aboard the R/V Langseth

Our home away from home at sunset

We started our tour of the R/V Langseth almost a month ago with a walk through of the mess hall and now with our return to the high seas are excited to pick back up where we left off.
  Let’s begin with our sleeping quarters.

As we all know, the most important aspect of real estate is location, location, location and the same can be said for room assignments when at sea.  On first glance, you might be tempted to opt for a room on a higher floor accompanied by a nice porthole to allow full view of the spectacular sea outside.  However, hold that thought!  Remember that the further above sea level you are, the more you will move with each passing wave.  What may feel like a peaceful sway down on the lower levels can turn into a ferocious veer strong enough to topple chairs on the top deck.  Thus, if you have any inclination that you could succumb to seasickness it is probably best to pass on the picturesque vista and opt instead for a windowless cabin below.  Fortunately, for many of the scientists mental struggles over room selection never occurred as cabins had been assigned to us before we walked up the gangway.  Most of the students aboard are sleeping in a suite of cabins that share a common living space endearingly termed the “Snake Pit”.  The origin of the room’s namesake remains mysterious, perhaps previous groups of students did some sort of battle there? Or fought snakes? Who knows, for now though it represents a comfortable room where many spend their off time reading books from the library or taking short siestas in between work. 

The "Snake Pit" where students read and lounge between shifts

All of the cabins aboard share similar features such as a set of bunk beds and matching closets.  Depending on the individual setup, you might find yourself lucky enough to also have a set of desks and perhaps even a small couch though these furnishings are found mostly in the higher rooms reserved for the principle scientists and the superior ship mates.  Given that work continues around the clock on the Langseth, all bunk beds include an individual light for private reading and also black out drapes to both prevent any light from your bed reaching your room mate and conversely any light from your room mate reaching you.  Additionally, all rooms come with either adjoining shared or private bathrooms (termed “heads”).  Given the combination of rolling waves and slippery tiles, it could easily be said that the heads may be some of the most injury prone rooms aboard.  Thus whenever attempting to take a shower, remember to always keep one hand on the hand rail and if the ship starts swaying don’t neglect to hold on tight otherwise you might suddenly find yourself autonomously ejected onto the cold, wet floor.

Our cozy cabin equipped with bunk beds and closets

I think that about does it for now, dinnertime is just around the corner and I can smell the ahi tuna from here. Buenas Noches!

Natalie Accardo