Well hello there. Over the next three months I'm going to be going from Japan to Australia and New Zealand... via 2 months spent on a big boat in the North Pacific. I'm part of the scientific team for IODP Expedition 324, which aims to sample deep basement rocks from a giant underwater volcanic-plateau called 'Shatsky Rise'. Should you be interested, you can follow what I'm up to here...

Friday, 16 October 2009

Over the hump and out of the grump

Ahoy shipmates!

It’s 3am on a Friday night. Perfect time for a quick blog!

-My last beer in Yokohama. It was so cold there were actually beautiful, tiny, ice crystals beginning to form in it… sigh.

We had our “hump day” party two weeks ago to mark getting over the mid-way “hump” of the expedition. (As someone, rather ambiguously, stated at the time: “It’s all downhill from here!” -which I guess you could interpret one of two ways).
It was actually really good fun and a chance to let off some steam.

Fyi I joined this party at 12.30am; 45 minutes after waking up for the day and 15 minutes after eating my “morning” muesli.
So to put this in context, it was a bit like rolling out of bed at 7.45am, eating breakfast at 8.15am and by 8.30am being at your office, stone-cold-sober, throwing shapes to Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys, and not stopping until 12.30pm… when you had to go back to work.
Interesting experience.

It’s the 6th week of the expedition now and we’re currently finishing up drilling at our very last site (Site U1350, on Ori Massif, Central High of Shatsky Rise - should you be terribly concerned by the details), where operations are supposed to stop for good in about 3 days time.

The first three sites had plenty of interesting sediments, which didn’t please the igneous guys all that much, but certainly kept the three little sedimentologists busy…

Basically my life has been reduced to this:

Laptop full of unfinished work: check.
Plastic tumbler full of super-sweet American cereal to get me through the night: check.

Then there’s the fact that in three days time “we turn into a carnival cruise liner!” (as our eminent chief scientist put it) with the beginning of our 2 week transit to Australia.
Wooooooo hoooooo!!

Hopefully this will be an opportunity for some. Much. Needed. Rest. And. Relaxation.

So I’m hoping there'll be time for hanging out with these guys:

And time for some of this:

-initial enthusiasm about life on the ocean waves during the transit, (all well and good until i realised i was lounging about 1m away from the massive radiation source that is the satellite uplink pod. doh).

and a chance to see some of these:

- a whale!

and more of this:

and less of these:

-even though some of them are really pretty…

So, wish me luck on the final push.


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