October 31, 2001
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Posted by Dr.
Craig Cary, University of Delaware marine biologist and Chief Scientist
of the Extreme 2001 expedition.
There is a great deal of anticipation on the ship this morning. As we
make through our last few miles of open sea to Manzanillo, Mexico, where
we will disembark. Everyone is up early putting the final finishes to
packing in the hope that when we do tie up they will be able to quickly
feel the shore beneath their feet. For many shore is a blessing, a comfort
they have not felt in over 15 days. For me, however, it is different.
After so much preparation (over a year) and anticipation for what might
be accomplished during the voyage, the adventure draws to a close but
I am really not quite ready. This is not an uncommon feeling to me; in
fact its one I feel each time I go to sea. It is just that I forgot
and find myself unprepared (as usual) to deal with the disappointment
of it all ending.
This has been my 23rd Alvin cruise, and over the years I have grown
to not only appreciate the capabilities of those that really make what
we do happen but to depend on them. The Atlantis and her crew and
the Alvin Group are a unique group of individuals that strive to make
the often impossible, actually happen. It is so easy for us ashore to
visualize doing something on the ship that will enable us to reach some
objective, but it is these guys that make it happen. To me, in many ways,
was no different. We came on board just about 15 days ago with dreams
of discovery and success and now will walk ashore with coolers filled
with that promise samples from the deep that may just answer those
questions that brought us out here but maybe not. What if in this brief
moment we were given we were unable to accomplish the task, is that failure?
Not in my mind because no matter what happens we learned more about the
system we work in, more about the process of science, and most importantly
more about ourselves. These together are invaluable and will certainly
new incentive to accomplish the task next time. This is what I believe
science is all about, building an intuition on what strategy to use to
get to the answer.
It is customary when leaving the ship that the Chief Scientist writes
a letter thanking the Crew and Alvin group for all of their efforts
to make the cruise a success [see below]. This letter is posted in the
Galley area for all to read. While is often hard to acknowledge each individuals
efforts, this general letter tries to bring the point up front that we
(the science) know that our success is the direct result of everyones
I would like to thank each of you out there who has dialed into our expedition
though the Web. I hope that this small experience has informed you, enlightened
you about the possibilities, and for some,
opened a new door to discover science for yourselves.
Dr. Craig Cary
Chief Scientist, Extreme 2001
Posted in the Galley Area of the R/V Atlantis
To: The crew of the Atlantis and
The Alvin Group
From: The Science Participants of EXTREME 2001
On behalf of all the participants of Extreme 2001 we would
like to thank you all for on outstanding cruise. After sailing with many
of you for so many years, my expectations of any cruise aboard the Atlantis
are always very high. I try to explain to those new to the ship that there
is a spirit out here that drives a common philosophy: if it can be done,
it will be done. I have never been disappointed. Once again from the deck
to the mess, from the bridge and engine room to SSSGs and sub operations,
the program went as expected flawless. It never ceases to amaze
me how much we can achieve under such an enthusiastic and collaborative
This voyage was unique in my experience in that the majority of the participants
had not only never been on an Atlantis/Alvin cruise before but
had never been to sea. When I was originally given this time
slot and the opportunity to have the ship to ourselves (in itself unique),
I decided I would take the opportunity to invite a diverse group of investigators
that I felt would not only benefit from the experience but had the energy
and passion to see the opportunity to develop a vent-related research
direction in their own labs. Having so many new scientists on board is
always a challenge for the crew, but I knew that if this idea was to be
successful, the only ship in the fleet I could count on was the Atlantis.
I personally cannot thank you enough for being so receptive and encouraging
to the science party. I know that I speak for everyone in saying that
their experience was truly exceptional, and I am
sure will be the standard to which all of their future sea-going experiences
will be measured.
Unlike most cruises, our successes out here were not only in the research
arena but transcended solidly into education and outreach. The Extreme
2001: A Deep-Sea Odyssey Program and Phone Calls to the Deep
were a resounding success. I know for a fact that during just the first
few days, the University of Delaware Web site had over 100,000 visitors.
I am confident that if it follows our early Extreme 2000 success, we will
meet or exceed 1 million hits. We touched many people, especially those
kids in classrooms coast-to-coast and overseas who had the opportunity
to dial into our adventure and taste the discovery. We are all grateful
for all of your enthusiastic support to make this component of Extreme
2001 such a success.
My only regret, as always, is that it was way too short. There will be
a next time, November 2002, and I know that many are already looking forward
the opportunity to be back on board. So, as we all depart, the Science
of Extreme 2001 want to thank each and every one of you for making the
cruise such a success. Your reputation for professionalism, enthusiasm,
and hospitality is so well deserved.
Craig Cary, and the Participants of Extreme 2001