Life on the water
“I always swore that after living on a boat, I would never have anything to do with life on the water,” Allison Stone says.
But as most coastal dwellers understand, the ocean has a way of pushing one out and then pulling one back in.
Stone grew up in Mount Pleasant. She spent her preschool years in the Old Village, her elementary years at Mount Pleasant Academy and attended middle school at Moultrie Middle. She worked as a waitress throughout high school (Academic Magnet School in Charleston), and through her undergrad years, at “The Wreck” on Shem Creek. In 2011, she completed her Bachelor’s in Geology at the College of Charleston.
Mount Pleasant is a town that Stone knows and loves.
“We moved to Mount Pleasant from Maine in ’92. I lived off a dock on my dad’s sail boat with my mother, father, and older brother for a year.”
“It was unconformable,” Stone remembers, “But you grow up over the bridge, on the beach, on the boat… life on the water really sinks into your psyche.”
Today, 27-year old Stone works as hydrographic senior survey technician on board the NOAA ship, the Thomas Jefferson.
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has a proud purpose: To enrich life through science.
“Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them,” Stone says.
As a hydrographic survey technician, Stone’s primary responsibility is to report data on the whereabouts of sandbars. As time passes and natural disasters occur, Stone has the amazing opportunity to track and discover the forever changing ocean floor.
“After Hurricane Sandy, we responded to Delaware Bay and Cape May. We discovered that the sandbars had shifted and were starting to form dangerous situations.”
Stone remembers being inspired at an early age to pursue her adventurous career path; it began during career day at school.
“There was one parent who seemed to be truly happy. She didn’t work directly with NOAA, but she worked on the water.”
Her career path was pretty much set in stone by the time she was in sixth grade.
“My class had a snorkeling trip. We counted fish, collected artifacts, and that’s what really set me off,” Stone says. “Living on the Thomas Jefferson is cool in the sense that, in a dorky way, you are a turtle and you travel with your home. Every sailor is enamored with sunsets and sunrises. And the stars shine so brightly.”
Stone believes in following one’s dreams. Taking adventures. But home will always be part of her adventure.
“Every day I think about home in some form or another… it wasn’t until I got a job on the ship that I realized how beautiful this town [Mount Pleasant] is. When I returned, I asked myself, ‘How did I not notice this for so long?’” she says, smiling.
“Mount Pleasant is so special and unique; although it is changing quickly, the underlying personality will always be a small, friendly town.”