04 January 2009

Report from Allison Davis '08 Third Mate Aboard M/V National Geographic Endeavor

We haven't done an Alumni update in a while- But it is great to hear that RWO / Dinghy Team Alum Allison Davis is having a great time in a not so ordinary job- even by Kings Point standards-  Great Job Ally!

"I am doing well and learning so much! It's very exciting down here in Antarctica. I really love it! The Captain is great and gives me the con around ice all the time. I was supposed to get off in the beginning of December, but I asked to stay on until the end of January so I can get more time on this ship. She is going to be reflagged to work in the Galapagos, so the officers have to be Ecuadorian and all of us on board have to work on other ships. It looks like I will be able to work on Lindblad's newest ship, National Geographic Explorer, in May. I'll get on in Egypt and work the European runs as well as the Arctic.

One of the most exciting things about this ship are the marine mammal encounters. There is so much life down in Antarctica that I had no idea about. When we were in South Georgia, the beaches were really loud with elephant seals mating and fighting, penguins squawking and feeding their young, and glaciers calving. As you can imagine, I tried to get ashore whenever I wasn't on watch.

We have an open bridge policy and so I often find myself bumping into guests while I'm trying to plot positions, but it makes for a fun time too. I was on watch the other day when some guests came up to the bridge claiming they had seen a whale. The AB confirmed it through binoculars so I called the Captain. The whole thing seemed kind of fishy because the guests were saying that it was just floating at the surface. The Captain came up to the bridge after a few minutes and since he knew exactly where we were he didn't even have to look out the window to confirm what type of whale it was. Well, let's just say this type of whale is as hard as a rock! The guests were very embarrassed and so was I for calling the Captain to come up to the bridge to see a rock in the distance. The Captain just laughed it off though because this has happened many times before.

About an hour later we came across two Humpbacks. They were feeding so we saw some really cool behavior such as flapping their fins and lots of bubbles! Humpbacks guide Krill up to the surface with bubble walls and rings. It's rare to see the bubble rings, but at times we saw very large rings of bubbles and both humpbacks come up through the rings with their mouths wide open! It was a really cool experience!

Occasionally, a big glob of red stuff would be seen when the whales came up the surface. I wasn't sure what it was at first, but the Captain got really excited when he saw it and was yelling "look it's poop! POOOOPPPPP!!!!! POOP, POOP!" One of the naturalists was making an announcement explaining why the whales are making the bubbles, and he turned the intercom mike towards the Captain so his shouting could be heard all over the ship! I'm sure the few guests sitting in the lounge were shocked!

We could also see the Krill on the depthfinder which was really cool and there was a lot of it! I tried to watch the humpbacks as much as I could, but I was plotting the ships position every few minutes to make sure we were staying just far enough away from some shallow spots. The bridge was crowded, so I was almost leaning over guests as I plotted the positions.

I had never been on a passenger ship before this, so I wasn't sure what to expect. We get a lot of old people, which makes things difficult when helping them in and out of zodiacs or when we are in the open ocean.

This has been the most amazing contract for me and I am so glad I am working on this ship.  I hope things are going well for you and please say hello to everyone at Yocum for me. "

No comments: