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Post by Tanga Morris

The ocean's vastness has always sparked my curiosity. Its deep waters hide so much that is unknown to us. Embarking on an exploration of deep-sea research in the northeast Pacific aboard the renowned research vessel, the James Cook, is an experience unlike any other. Surrounded by scientists from across the globe, each an expert in their field, I consider myself extremely lucky. This voyage marks my longest at-sea experience, and already the knowledge I've gained so far is rewarding, with more to come.

Tanga Morris from the Cook Islands

A few days after departing Costa Rica, I had finally gained my sea legs, and waking up to the gentle rocking of the ship had become the norm. The vessel is equipped with cutting-edge technology, including remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and sonar mapping systems. The James Cook is a floating laboratory that allows us to explore and study the ocean’s depths in many ways. Literal hands-on science at sea, I’m in awe of the vessel’s capabilities. 

Now, three weeks into the cruise, life on the RRS James Cook is a blend of hard work and inspiring moments. A daily routine consists of 12-hour shifts, three amazing meals a day, and a community of scientists and crew members working together. Every day brings new discoveries and experiences.

Life on board is not all work; there are moments of relaxation. Visits to the ship’s gym and sauna, before and after shifts. Mealtimes provide an opportunity to get to know each other more, sharing stories and laughter while enjoying the freshly prepared food (this is always a highlight; every day is new). Finally, watching the evening sun set over the horizon with a cup of green tea is breathtaking and always reminds me of home back in the Cook Islands.

Of course, life at sea also has its challenges: unpredictable weather, seasickness, science equipment failures. Yet, despite these challenges, the crew always looks out for each other, and we continue to learn and track along to the next exciting thing on the task whiteboard.

As the journey continues, there is still more to discover. As a proud young Cook Islander from the heart of the Pacific, I consider myself beyond grateful to be here. I aspire to learn and experience as much as I can, with the hopes of returning home to inspire our people to venture into fields like this. Te Atua, te Aroa.