One of Kathryn Eident’s first memories of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution came in the middle of the night. Excited to be up so late, the nine-year-old watched as a ship slowly appeared out of the darkness and tied up to the dock. It was the research vessel Oceanus, just back from a few weeks off Iceland where scientists were studying currents. On board, working as chief engineer, was her father, who tantalized her with stories of life at sea and scientists' exciting discoveries.
Eident went off to college to study political science and economics. But she never got the salt and science out of her blood. After college, jobless and unfocused, she spent six weeks sailing on the tall ship Corwith Cramer as part of the Woods Hole-based Sea Education Association. While learning the finer points of seamanship (like eating ginger candy to thwart seasickness), she tested whether mesoscale eddies affected the migratory patterns of the Caribbean spiny lobster. It was hard, sweaty work, and she loved every minute of it.
Months later, she went to sea again, this time as a member of the galley crew on a WHOI vessel. Off and on over the next five years, she worked on all three WHOI ships, where she also regularly sat in on science meetings, corralled scientists in the passageways, and haunted the labs to glance at samples. Amid all that sailing, Eident earned a master's degree in journalism at Boston University. She’s written for the Cape Cod Times and The Boston Globe and produced stories for National Public Radio stations. Most recently, she’s been at sea on the research vessel Atlantis, working both in the galley and on deck and, in between, writing for Scientific American and Oceanus magazines.
She lives on Cape Cod, where beaches and boats are never far away.