Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cyclone "Hettie"

We are in the southern hemisphere, so we are in the middle of their tropical storm season. As I mentioned, we managed to finish deploying the seismometers just as the waters were starting to get choppy. I was pretty alarmed when there was a cyclone warning issued for all the Tongan Islands and Fiji - this being my first ever tropical storm ever. Luckily the storm wasn't large, and it didn't actually reach cyclone status until well to the south of us. Besides the rocking of the boat and the fact that we couldn't start the air-guns until the seas became calmer, the whole ordeal wasn't bad at all; in fact, it was sort of fun.

While out on deck earlier with the OBSs, I was able to experience waves crashing over the side of the boat and drenching us; that was fun and exciting. Also, I've never had the experience of feeling like I was going to get tossed out of bed. It's like having a dream about falling, except when you wake up, you realize that the bed actually is falling out from beneath you. The bouncing up and down of the boat felt a lot like a trampoline, and it was my favorite part of the weather. My second favorite part was the crazy rolling of the boat (tipping from side to side). I suppose it really isn't cool for all the belongings on your desk to get thrown onto the floor; but for me, it was pretty exciting. In close third was the weird combination of pitch and roll, which suddenly gives the spinning-room sensation - so far, this brought me the closest to losing my lunch. Unfortunately, the seas became choppy before we were entirely used to being on a boat in the first place, so most people had difficulty sleeping and some became sick. Now that it's all over, and we're no longer sleep-deprived and crabby, I'm going to go ahead and say that the whole ordeal was pretty cool.

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