By Kelsey Archer Barnhill
I (along with all other Leg 0 participants) am so excited that the end of our hotel quarantine is in sight! While we will not set sail until Friday, we will all board the ship tomorrow to spend the day getting settled in and listening to our on-board orientation in port.
In order to be able to board tomorrow, there were some items on our to-do lists today that we had to tick-off. Right after breakfast was delivered, we left our rooms for the first time in over a week to walk down the hallway for a COVID-19 PCR test. It was nice to see everyone in the hallway from a safe distance and see that no-one looked the worse for wear after our time in isolation!
We also each have some health forms to fill out and sign today that must be handed to the captain as we embark. The first document states that we have not been in contact with anyone COVID-19 positive within the past two weeks. The second is a medical history form to be kept confidential and handed over in a sealed envelope, which will only be opened in case of a medical emergency.
As the internet on board will be reserved for essential communications, scientific, and outreach purposes, I also took advantage of the hotel wifi today to make sure I have everything downloaded that I may want to access during the cruise. I’ve made sure all the files on my OneDrive are being saved locally to my computer for offline access. I’ve also made sure to download some movies and series on Netflix across my devices to keep me occupied during any down time. I’m hoping to be able to find time to use the on-board gym and have downloaded a variety of workouts on my fitness app as well. To go along with my workouts and any other mood, I’ve also downloaded playlists to listen to offline. The last time I was at sea, I made the mistake of only saving about 50 songs to my phone and was sick of them all after the cruise. Finally, I’ve downloaded some podcasts in case there is a day with rough seas where the last thing you want to do to wind down is stare at a screen on a moving ship or try to keep your place on a book page.
I’m spending the evening re-packing everything and making sure I haven’t left anything in the hotel room. As my media kits have a lot of small parts, I am taking extra care to make sure no camera or audio pieces I’ve brought along have been misplaced. I’m also ensuring the safety gear I’ve brought along is easily accessible. I know I’ll need a face covering to wear tomorrow when departing from the hotel and also plan to wear my steel-toed safety trainers to walk around the deck in.
Tonight I will take a sea-sickness tablet to give it some time to kick into my system. With certain types of seasickness medicines it works best to take the tablet the night before. Often if you wait until you are not feeling well on the ship, it’s a bit too late for the medicine to do you any good! I’ll take another tablet tomorrow morning with breakfast prior to boarding as well, as I am hoping for a smooth transition to ship life.
On the ship the ROV team is currently preparing ROV Luso for its first in-water test for the expedition, which will happen in port. It’s not clear yet if that will occur today or tomorrow, so I may get to witness that in person! I’m looking forward to joining the ROV crew on board and will keep you updated as I move from my hotel room to my ship berth.