Geeking out about the New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration because…

Geeking out about the New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration because…

Earlier this week, I got an email that the New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration supplement book to the Oceanography magazine was released. This supplement provides a closer look at the innovation and research in ocean exploration, and is available in printed and online format.

I first read these supplements to prepare for my first experience last summer with the OET Nautilus deep sea research cruise. 


There is a wealth of information out there that I never knew existed like remotely operated vehicles, discovery of new never before seen or observed species, and ocean floor mapping. I was fortunate to join OET Nautilus as part of the research cruise with National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. It was a tremendous experience; one I will definitely never forget. I learned so much and gained a deeper appreciation for my ocean. BUT the reason why I’m sharing all of this though is actually because…

They published TWO of my photos!!!

And I’m listed as a contributing author!!!


This may not seem like a big deal, but I’m personally so thrilled and honored to be included in such a highly regarded science publication. I’m not a super hardcore marine scientist by any means, but being involved with this first-rate innovation and research has truly inspired me to stay hungry for more learning opportunities and experiences in the field of science. There’s more to explore!

You can click the cover image of the booklet or this link here to view the entire publication online. There’s loads of brilliant information on what we explored here in American Samoa, the active hydrothermal plume at Vailulu`u, the search for the Samoan Clipper plane crash, plus so much more in cruises with other marine sanctuaries and ocean exploration partners.

I’m sharing screenshots from just a few pages of the magazine that I was especially stoked to see because it had my name on it – eeeek!

Two of my photos were included in the magazine–and look–you can see Ian (representing the American Samoa science team on this dive watch) on page 12, busy taking notes beside Expedition Leader Christopher Roman on his right, and data loggers Peyton and Sunna on his left. I’m stoked they gave me photo credit and spelled my name correctly haha. The other photo is of our local science team Ave, Georgia, and Jessica, and data logger, Rebecca, who were the on 4-to-8 watch, after mine. Both photos were taken in the control van during an active dive watch when the ROVs Hercules and Argus were deployed. 

Here’s the spread highlighting the expedition with National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Initially, I didn’t realize I was going to be included in the list of authors, and when I found out, I was like, wow this is SO cool! And then I realized Dr. Robert Ballard’s name was also on the list, and I was like ‘EVEN COOLER!’ I’m still blushing just at how cool it is… like I don’t deserve to be on here, but I’m so appreciative. Please excuse how lame I’m being. I’m just so excited about it. I owe huge thanks to Dr. Mareike Sudek (lead scientist and author for the NMSAS section) for advocating for me to be part of the expedition as a science communicator. I was fully expecting only scientists to get invited, but this just goes to show there’s opportunity in STEM for anyone with a passion and a willingness to learn.

Ok ok enough, thanks for reading!




Part 3 from my photo journal with Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus; conducting deep sea research with a bunch of rad humans and technology to discover the undiscovered around my home waters, and the National Marine Sanctuaries of American Samoa.

July to August 2019.

Our ROV dives at Swains island were cut short because the weather was starting to turn. 

The swells grew and winds picked up speed. The ROVs were recovered, and our expedition leader and ship captain made the decision to sail overnight towards the leeward side of the Manu’a islands to continue our dives there.

Woke up to this view of Ta’u island, taken from the monkey deck.

The science teams were shuffling around to create a new dive plan. Meanwhile, work continued with live telepresence communications.

A really cool unique thing about the Nautilus is their live telepresence outreach capabilities. Not only are the dives broadcasted 24/7 to the public online at, we were also able to connect with people all over the world on a more personal level. Led by science communications fellows, we engaged with classrooms, museums, auditoriums, summer school groups, a university in the Azores, and of course with our very own communities back home who tuned in at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center. 

 Because of the time difference, we had to schedule these telepresence interactions at all hours of the day.

This one wasn’t too bad at 6:00 am local time… me and Samantha Wishnak, the Nautilus‘ Communications Manager.

(Funny side note: turns out that Sam and Ian share the same friend groups in California, like they’re best friends are the same people! This reminded me that despite how vast the ocean is, this marine science community is close knit and interconnected.)

The rugged mountainscape of Ofu and Olosega islands, connected by a bridge.

We had quite a bit of downtime between ROV dives and transiting from location to location, so a good group of us passed the time watching movies, reading, and playing card games. I taught them how to play Samoan suipi, and camp, and it was honestly so fun hanging out like this, disconnected yet connected at the same time.

Re-deployed the ROVs Hercules and Argus, and kept our fingers crossed for a long and interesting dive.

Here’s our expedition lead, Dr. Christopher Roman, manning the robot arm that lifts the Hercules for deployment and retrievals.

After one of the many dives, here’s the crew retrieving Argus and Hercules yet again.

In the wet lab with data logger leader, Suna.

We celebrated her birthday out at sea with cake and some of the crew made a crown of copper wiring for her to dawn.

The wet lab is also broadcasted live via when geological and biological samples are collected and taken in to be preserved and prepared to be sent to scientists for analysis. Scientists all over the world can request specific samples for research. This allows experts in various fields to share their knowledge and inform what we find.

Back in the control van for my last dive watch from 12:00 am to 4:00 am with the best shift of #BenthicBuddies (in my biased opinion, lol). Our crew includes: Hanae (co-lead scientist), me (AS scientist), Peyton (data logger), Anthony (video engineer), Brian (science communications fellow),  Lily (navigator), Summer (ROV Argus pilot), and Scott (ROV Hercules pilot).

You can check out the rest of the Nautilus crew (and read our bios) from the American Samoa expedition here:


EV Nautilus Photo Journal Pt. 2 | Deep Sea Exploration in American Samoa

EV Nautilus Photo Journal Pt. 2 | Deep Sea Exploration in American Samoa

Part 2 of my photo journal on the E/V Nautilus.

Deep sea research cruise in the waters of American Samoa. July to August 2019.

View of Swains island from the vessel. 

The full buffet 3x each day was a luxury. Living large on the high seas!

Rocking our no-spill Nautilus mugs in front of Swains island. So happy.

Back in the control van during my science watch. 

Samoan sunrises make me swoon.

It’s always an event when the ROVs are getting deployed. It’s pretty incredible to see technology in action to discover the undiscovered.

The American Samoa science team representing!

Ian, me, Georgia, and Hanae.

I feel so lucky to do what I do. And working alongside my fiance is the cherry on the top.

EV Nautilus photo journal pt. 1 | Deep sea exploration in American Samoa

EV Nautilus photo journal pt. 1 | Deep sea exploration in American Samoa

A long overdue photo journal from my time on the EV Nautilus a few months ago.

The Nautilus is a 64-meter exploration vessel that pushes the boundaries to explore the deep ocean that lead to other-worldly discoveries. It operates under the Ocean Exploration Trust in partnership with NOAA and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

I am incredibly stoked to say that I was able to join the 2019 expedition through my work at National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. There were only 5 spots for an American Samoa science team during this research cruise, so I also feel insanely lucky that Ian and I both got to be part of the local crew…  how cool right?! There were two of us from National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, Ian was there on behalf of National Park Service, one person from Department of Marine & Wildlife Resources / Coral Reef Advisory Group, a marine science student from American Samoa Community College, and a University of Hawaii photogrammetry student.

I was on the first leg of the cruise which was an entire week from July 22 to July 29, 2019.

This is just Part 1: Scroll down to see photos from my first couple of days on the ship.

Disclaimer: all views, opinions, and grammatical errors my own.

My first night on the Nautilus was a Sunday night. We checked in at the Pago Pago Port earlier in the afternoon, and I hosted a FB Live stream on the ONMS Facebook Page, and we got to meet everyone and settled in to our bunks, because we’d be leaving super early the following morning.

This was my room on the ship. I walked in and was like, this is sooooo nice I think I’m in the wrong room. But nope, I was in the right room! And turns out, it’s actually the Robert Ballard’s stateroom!!! I got to sleep in his stateroom! He would be joining the next leg of the cruise, so it worked out that since I was only on the first leg, we’d swap out during the switch.

I didn’t have it all to myself though! It has a bunkbed with a full size bed on the bottom where I slept, and a twin size bed up top, where my bunkmate Ave slept.

View from the boat stern (and you can see the ROV Argus) at Pago Pago Harbor.

We spent all of Monday underway. Our first destination was Swains Island, which is part of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. It’s very remote, and actually is geographically a part of the Tokelau island chain, but politically part of American Samoa. We were underway for a little under a full 24-hours.

Having the first day as a transit only day was actually super helpful for people like me who chronically get seasick. I took my seasick meds and was just getting used to my sea legs.

The transit was a bit rough, so I was amazed to see the waters completely becalmed on the first evening.

Arrived at Swains island.

It’s crazy flat. It used to be a copra plantation, and there was a small village there long ago. Now it is uninhabited, though managed still by the family owners, the Jennings Family.

This is Peyton, he was the data logger for my science watch from 12am/pm to 4am/pm. He’s a gifted artist and in between all the work throughout the cruise, he made an awesome comic about his experience, and recently published a zine on it!

Our first ROV dive near Swains island. This is the ROV Hercules which has all the gadgets and gizmos that allow it to go where no man has gone before – literally – down to 4,000 meters, and takes photos, collects samples, and is tethered to the ship. It is controlled remotely by ROV pilots and feeds live video of what it sees directly to the public online at

Deploying the ROVs takes a lot of work and manpower. It felt like such a special event each time we prepped for a dive. Everyone got to work to ensure all was prepared and troubleshooted so we could have a smooth dive. These ROVs are the prize of this ship, so it was always an event to watch it being deployed or retrieved, like a NASA mission for the deep sea.

Here’s Ian and the first dive watch team in the Nautilus control van. The control van is basically a mini NASA launch room lol. There are multiple screens that show all the different cameras broadcasted live from the two ROVs. The video engineers were excellent and got all the money shots.

Seeing this deep sea underwater landscape was so unreal. Just off Swains island, we saw a lot of pillow lava rocks.

Singing the Moana song here…

“see the line where the sky meets the sea, it calls meeeee”

The next dive watch shift – all women!


The next dive watch shift – all women!


Next up, my first dive watch, transit to Manu’a islands, and running into some weather!

See part 2 here.