Almost there…

Today we will arrive in Wellington – a brief stop to pick up some more fuel for the ship, and a chance for us to disembark for the last time before the end of the expedition.

For me, a chance to meet some of my New Zealand friends.

We have been busy getting organised, in the picture we are exploring the core lab, and deciding what scheme of descriptions we are all going to use to describe our core when it arrives. The ship is ahead of schedule, due to some really, really good sailing conditions.  In 2 days time we will be bringing the first core on deck, and from then on it will be hard work to keep up with the drillers. Usually this ship drills in relatively deep water, and it takes time to bring the drilled core up from the ocean floor to the deck of the ship – but the 4 planned sites on this expedition are all in relatively shallow water, so that the round trip of the core barrels is very short. This means that by the time the core has equilibrated for 4 hours after being brought up (before we can cut it), the drillers will probably be drilling their second hole! (each site has more than one planned ‘hole’, in this case so that we can sample the top 50 m twice. Unplanned holes can sometimes be drilled if the bottom hole assembly or drill bit gets stuck in the hole, we will start a new hole to try and get deeper).