Make do or do without

Make do or do without. It is a phrase that I am very familar with from childhood but it takes on a new and challenging interpretation at sea. When you are at sea, you can't go out to the nearest superstore and find what you need. You need to use a little creativity and make use of the things that you have available. One of my first challenges was to secure the styrofoam structures and cups so that they could be lowered into the sea and suffer the pressures of the ocean depths. Lisa Crowder, the assistant lab officer on this expedition is as close to an expert at shrinking cups as there is anywhere. She is also a master at creatively using the things available on the ship.

To keep the cups from moving around and getting stuck in the wrong position, she has been sewing them in layers in a laundry bag. A large sewing needle was not on my list of things to bring to the ship. Creativity to the rescue! Lisa made a needle using a small piece of wire, bent and taped together to form an eye.


Abby (the doll that is helping children learn about careers in oceanography) needed a hard hat and safety glasses to mirror safe practices in photos. Lisa cut a pair of old scratched safety glasses, framed the lenses with electrical wire and Abby had some safety glasses.

Of course these were just some fun things that really have no bearing on the success of the expedition but the same can do spirit is what keeps things running out at sea. The ship has a well equiped machine shop and two mechanics who can fix almost anything that needs to be fixed right here on the ship. The lab technicians make sure that they have everything that they need for the expedition. However, if they run out of something, They know how to substitute in a pinch.

The ability to accept a challenge and find a solution is a must on a scientific drilling ship. It is a huge advantage anywhere. If I was stranded on a deserted island these would be the people I would want to have with me.

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