Labors of Love

  • Stephen Nicol


Few people have experienced the hardship, tedium, and excitement of long oceanographic research voyages to distant waters. Prior to my first foray into Antarctic waters, my longest stint at sea was a mere three weeks, the amount of time it takes just to get my sea legs. The real work starts in the following month or two. These long voyages are intense periods of scientific activity, but they are also a test of our ability to work for long hours in close proximity with a small, but disparate, group of people in a workplace that wallows constantly. Achieving our scientific goals requires considerable social skills, but it is also a powerful bonding experience. In the best cases, lifelong friendships are born. In the worst case, implacable enmities evolve. But, at sea, the focus is always on completing the mission; it is usually only when the ship has docked, and the debriefs with friends and family commence, that true emotions can come to the surface. Nobody forgets a long Antarctic voyage.

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© Stephen Nicol 2018

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  • Stephen Nicol

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