In his memoirs, Trinkaus claimed that although he had learned about comparative anatomy and embryology in his college courses, the embryology course at the MBL provided him the opportunity to work with live embryos, developing before his eyes, about which he wrote: “I was excited by this prospect and enthralled by the beauty of these minute creatures” (Trinkaus 2003, 41). His favorite memory of that first summer at Woods Hole involved going out on the ocean to collect specimens, such as the worm, Alitta succinea. These trips were considered social events at the MBL, where students, assistants, and instructors would go collecting in the middle of the night, as some of the species were attracted to the surface of the water by the moonlight, and bring them back to the lab to collect gametes and observe fertilization. Trinkaus recalled many accidents occurring on the floating lab docks, which would end up with students losing their footing and toppling over into the water.
Trinkaus enjoyed his first summer at the MBL so much that, at the start of the academic year in the fall, he immediately began to plan his next summer at Woods Hole as a research assistant, with the intention of spending the entire summer at the Cape. Since that first summer in 1939, Trinkaus continued to make the trip to Woods Hole almost every summer for the rest of his life, eventually building his own home on F.R. Lillie Road.