Day 28: Voyage reflections

By September 2nd, 2019

By Olivia Belshaw and Jamie Menzies

What was your voyage highlight?

Jamie: Too many to count. It was great seeing a full class raise their hand when I asked who wanted to be a scientist after a Skype link up to RV Investigator, which truly shows the value in bringing the science research into classrooms. Also, witnessing the excitement of new scientific discoveries – from surprise volcanoes to gross sea cucumbers with purple blood. Perhaps most exciting of all was getting to debunk the myth of the green flash at sunset – I saw it, I promise!

Olivia: So many amazing things happened, including giving my Year 12 students a tour of the ship during a live cross! However, I think two specific things stand out. The first was working alongside Dr Rob Beaman to create my own Bathymetry map of the Lexington Sea Mount. This was something I had never done before, and I really learnt a lot about the swathing process. Creating the rendered map was almost like creating my own piece of scientific art.

My second highlight was working with the MNF and Science team to create a music video called “Dredgebusters” – a parody of the Ghostbusters theme song, sung alongside video footage collected on board RV Investigator, including the scientists at work.

“Educators on Board” Olivia and Jamie take in a sunset from deck 5.

Educators on Board, Olivia and Jamie, take in a sunset from deck 5.

What will you miss the most?

Jamie: I will miss the amazing group of scientists that I can now call friends and getting the chance to be at the cutting edge of scientific research. It will be really strange not waking up and having my morning coffee looking out over the sunny Coral Sea. I’ll also miss the beautiful sunsets, and the delicious food…

Olivia: The people! I will definitely miss the camaraderie, as well as the fantastic and illuminating conversations had with so many members of the Science research team and the crew. I loved the daily opportunities to engage with others in conversations about new discoveries, areas of scientific research, the challenges facing young people aspiring to engage in STEM careers etc.

A whale shark approaches the ship.

A whale shark approaches the ship.

Most interesting animal sighting?

Jamie: On the last night we had a small pod of bottlenose dolphins riding the bow of the ship on the backdrop of a beautiful sunset which was a pretty spectacular sight. It’s been great getting to spend time with onboard biologists learning about seabirds, marine mammals and the weird and wonderful deep-sea fauna!

Olivia: I am still coming to terms with the fact that we got to see a Whale Shark swimming towards the ship! Seeing a whale shark has always been a bucket list item for me. But watching dolphins riding at the bow of the ship, during our very last sunset on board, was also pretty spectacular!

Jamie and Olivia during a live cross to an Australian School

Jamie and Olivia during a live cross to an Australian School.

What will you take back to your schools?

Jamie: A whole host of fantastic STEM learning activities inspired by the cutting-edge science taking place on RV Investigator. I’m hoping to create a series of lessons for primary schools incorporating real scientific data from the voyage: volcanoes and deep-sea corals will certainly be featured! Working in the Scottish Maritime Museum will provide an excellent platform to share these resources with visiting school groups, on outreach sessions and with other Museums that we are associated with. Exciting STEM learning ahead!

Olivia: Too many things to name! I am definitely going to create some learning activities around deep-sea ecosystems, interpreting bathymetry maps and a numeracy activity about estimating the rate of tectonic plate movement. Most importantly though, I think my students will benefit from my own excitement – going on this voyage has been reinvigorating, and I am keen to provide my students with more opportunities to engage with current scientific research and researchers at work in Australia.

The Science Research team and MNF Staff take a selfie with Jamie.

The Science Research team and MNF Staff take a selfie with Jamie.

Would you recommend this to other educators?

Jamie: I joined this voyage as a guest of the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh, who are voyage collaborators. While Educator on Board isn’t open to international teachers, participation on this voyage has been supported via berths donated from the international Science Team. I strongly recommend Australian teachers apply to be Educators on Board. It was fantastic to be able to connect with over 1000 students across Australia and Scotland. The voyage has reinvigorated my love for Earth Science after a few years working in science communication, and it was great to be able to rework my geology brain. Working with the team of incredible scientists has inspired me in so many ways, and I can’t wait to share the learning from this experience with schools and colleagues back in Scotland.

Olivia: Absolutely! In so many ways, this has been a life changing experience. I have made friends with some truly inspiring people and have learnt so much. Every day brought with it a new challenge, a new point of interest or a discovery. The trip has rekindled my love of learning and has reignited my passion for promoting STEM careers in schools, particularly rural and remote schools who have minimal exposure to the Australian Scientific community. This is an adventure I will be talking about for years to come.