Acting in the capacity of Expedition Coordinator for this Northwest Passage Project cruise may be one of the biggest challenges I have undertaken. Late nights coupled with early mornings (both of which feel exactly the same given the constant daylight). Live, interactive broadcasts that require tremendous energy, response to producer cues, and recall of project and science knowledge (I nearly lost my voice after 20 broadcasts last week).
Keeping tabs on project priorities including science activities, blogs, journals, and gauging overall student mood, outlook, and energy levels. Questions from students, scientists, SPRSS crew, and others about what is happening right now, in three hours, tomorrow, in three days. Missing my family and wanting to hug all the little children when we visited Pond Inlet, delighting in their laughter and smiles instead.
Even when considering all of this, to say that I am beyond proud to be part of this project, what we have accomplished, and what these students have undertaken would be an understatement. Our NPP students are motivated, passionate, enthusiastic, and considerate; characteristics that make my job and the important work we are doing up here in the Arctic that much easier. For me, this really became evident this past Saturday evening. I had a crazy idea as to how we could send my son a special note for his 8thbirthday, which I would miss the following day. A large group of us donned our blue and high-vis yellow flight suits, and headed out onto the bow of the ship. We all laid down on the deck and moved our bodies into the shape of a large “8”. Dr. Donglai Gong, resident NPP physical oceanographer, used one of his drones to capture an image of the boat from the sky. The image came out better than I could have ever anticipated- the bright colors of the “8”, in nearly perfect pattern formation; the magnificence of the ship and its icy, ocean, surroundings; freezing (no pun intended) that one moment to send back home to say “happy birthday”. But it was the comradery and compassion behind the image that truly makes it special. “Remember, there is no small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” (Scott Adams) The photo did make its way to Rhode Island, and brought a smile to my son’s face, however, this experience, and the selflessness shown by these students, and all NPP members, is something I will carry with me forever.