Changing Oceans: A poetic perspective

We’re onboard the RRS James Cook,
Cruise number 073.
We’re off on a 4 week adventure,
to explore the deep blue sea.

We’re not going far from Scotland,
but we don’t know what we’ll find.
We’ll use ROVs and CTDs,
Oh, how the winch will wind.

The ROV is ready now,
With its manipulator arm.
Its boxes and its samplers,
We just need the sea to calm.

The ROV drops to the deep,
To 1000 m or more.
And here we ask what will it find,
Down on the deep sea floor.

The day shift watch, they sit and wait
In front of the TV screen.
Some fish, some plankton, And then, oh yes,
“Amazing” comes the scream.

Coral reefs, they don’t just grow
Near a tropical sunlight shore,
Down in the deep, the dark, the cold,
The coral reefs grow more.

The reef itself is built of lime
Lophelia coral is most.
But in the reef live so much more,
Diversity can boast.

Inside the control box, out on deck,
The Masters make it go.
With a little joystick movement,
It can go against the flow.

As if we’re really swimming there,
Everything’s in range.
It’s like another planet,
The creatures are so strange.

The time at depth is far too short,
The ROV must ascend.
Back on board, a sigh of relief,
Another successful end.

While through the shift the tea flows strong,
We seem to eat all day.
But after the shift has come to an end
A beer is on its way.

Then a sleep and back to work,
Crew and scientists carry on.
While I sit in front of a beeping box,
Analyzing samples all night long.

But when the ROV cannot go in,
We’re not stuck for things to do.
We profile the water with the MVP,
CTD and multibeam too.

We work through the day and the night,
In the dark and in the cold.
Collecting, sampling, coring, logging:
Data is our gold.

The night shifts’ task: we need to core,
But will it work, we cry!
The sediment is far too hard,
No matter how much we try.

It takes two hours up and down,
From surface to ocean floor.
But until it gets back up on deck,
We’ll never know for sure.

When it comes up, we hold our breaths,
In the dawning light,
We see the mud in which the critters hide,
Oh how we do delight!

In between, I hear the beeps,
The never ending sound.
Even when the wind is up,
And waves are crashing round.

And now we’re coming to the end,
We long to see the shore.
But the ocean waves are rolling on,
Intriguing us ever more.

Written by Helen Findlay