Last Night on Board

Tonight is our last night on the RRS James Cook and expedition JC132 will be over. I think Nigel has stolen the show somewhat, that scrawny egret has worked his way into all our affections.

I have been given the bedding for the next occupant of my cabin. Tomorrow I must clean the cabin and the shower room and make the bed for another seafarer.

I have been privileged to spend time with scientists and crew and I sincerely thank everyone of them for: answering my questions, showing me round, explaining their roles and particularly I thank those who allowed me to share their profiles across the net. The careers available at sea are wide and varied and I hope I have left a legacy of a resource that can be used by those looking for life on the ocean waves.

My knowledge and understanding of oceanic ridges has increased hugely, I thought that all ocean spreading ridges were the same, I didn’t realise that some diverge faster than others and that subsequently different landforms and styles of spreading occur. I had assumed that all oceanic ridges were of symmetrical spreading, I learnt that asymmetrical spreading is common – up to 50% of the North Atlantic Ridge. I hope my blog readers have shared my journey into the science of Mid Ocean Ridges and now have, like me, a better understanding of the concepts surrounding sea floor spreading.

I’ve just eaten my last evening meal on the Cook –  deep fried mushrooms with a garlic dip; duck, sauté potatoes, roasted vegetables and sweetcorn; followed by plum crumble (everyone else had custard but I don’t like custard). I saw the stores yesterday – they are empty, I’ve decided that Darren, Chris, Tommy and Kevin are conjurors not cooks. The day to day life on board a research vessel, the routines, the roles of the crew have been of great interest. Family and friends of scientists and crew have been most kind in telling me that they now understand what their loved ones lives are like on board ship – thank you.

The lab is bare, devoid of the 53 computer screens, the state of the equipment is packed away ready to by shipped back to Blighty. I too am packed, ready to depart. I am sorry that my adventure is ending. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on a research vessel and would highly recommend the Teacher at Sea experience. I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family and of course my students too. I now have the hectic run up to AS and A2 examinations, a new specification in Geography to select and prepare for teaching in September 2016, fieldwork to plan and trip to Iceland in June. I also have to carry out my outreach work for the Teacher at Sea programme, so I won’t be bored.

I’d like to thank a few people:

NERC for sponsoring me.

Pete Loader for my reference.

Danny Pearson for encouraging me to go it and also for his reference.

Professors Roger Searle and Tim Reston for interviewing and appointing me.

Professor Christine Peirce for her advice and support prior to and during the expedition.

All of the scientists who took time to explain scientific concepts to me particularly Roger Searle who has kindly given me a copy of his book: Mid-Ocean Ridges (Cambridge University Press) – a very accessible read, every school library should have one (great for EPQs)

To Captain Jim Gwinnell and  all the crew for showing me around their domain.

All my blog interviewees.


My wonderful colleagues at work: Diane Coombes, Sarah Driscoll, Pete Loader and Anna Snape for stepping in and covering my timetable when my supply cover teacher resigned after 3 days. I know my Cherubim have been safe in your expert hands.

My lovely family: Steve, Sean, Roseanna, Mum and Dad for being supportive of wife, mum, daughter running away to sea for 7 weeks.

I keep being asked would I do it again – YES!!! But I think my colleagues would probably kill me!

The empty lab on the right – even the walls have been taken down. Left the ‘before’ photo of one of the work bays.



Tommy with Nigel.


The singing from the galley: Tommy, Darren, Chris and Kevin has been source of meal time entertainment that I shall truly miss.

Thank you for having me

Angela 🙂

PS: I will still blog now and then when I do outreach work.


6 thoughts on “Last Night on Board

  1. thanks Angela, safe journeys to everyone. How far from yr home patch will you travel to talk about teacheratsea experience and the opportunities for careers etc? Will there be a teacheratsea nearer here that I can enthuse about to High School teachers and careers bods please?


    1. My remit is country wide. I think I’m the only one as this is the first time NERC has sponsored a teacher at sea. I believe there was one on an international ship a few years ago but I don’t know them. Hopefully we will have more in the future :). Would love to your part of the world to do outreach. Ax


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