James Bendle's blog

Riders on the Storm


In the last few days we’ve been riding out a gale force 10/11 storm (for perspective 12 is hurricane strength). We had to leave the site we were drilling at and move to the north as there were too many ice bergs close-by It’s one thing to “heave to” through a Southern Ocean storm. It’s quite another to be in the vicinity of huge chunks of ice, the best policy is to run away!

Greenhouse world sediments, tree ring like sediments, exploding cores, whales, icebergs...just another week in the office...


It’s been a while since I blogged. Just been too busy, working all hours in this floating city of science. Much has happened since the last post, Greenhouse sediments, tree ring like sediments, exploding cores, whales, icebergs and a live video conference with students on the other side of the planet...just another week in the office...


Core on the floor...

The picture above shows Stephanie Carr (the microbiolgist and other organic geochemist onboard) and me looking happy with the cores coming up from our current (the 2nd) core site. 

First Drill Site and Ice Bergs

 This morning, shortly after I woke, we reached our first drill site (WLRIS-06A). There was a flurry of activity, the dynamic positioning thrusters were deployed, beacons dropped to the seafloor and the crew started assembling and lowering the drill pipe, section by section, through 3700m of water to the seafloor.

First video report and other links!

The storm passed and we are steadily, but slowly, progressing towards our first drill site. It’s cold, misty and atmospheric outside. A few people have spotted whales. The mist means we have to go slow to avoid bergs. Not much else to report – the amount of meetings and tours has reduced and now we are all just focusing on our own lab preparations. Getting ready for the first “core on the floor” which could be as soon as tomorrow night.

“Much have I travelled in the realms of gold….


… and many goodly states and kingdoms seen”


12th January

It’s been another interesting but very long day (midnight now, working since 8.30am). Science presentations this morning. We’ve had some great presentations since we started the cruise, many of the scientists onboard have worked on Antarctica or in the Antarctic margins previously. While we have been sailing to the first site they have been generously sharing their insights and past discoveries, so that we all have a deeper understanding of the aims of the cruise.


Setting Up, Southern Ocean and Birthday

Last couple of days have continued the hectic pace we’ve had since the start. Worked 14 hours both days!


We sailed from Wellington a few hours ago, it feels good to be underway! Several colleagues from Wellington’s University of Victoria paddled out to the mouth of the bay in sea kayaks to wave us goodbye and wish us good luck. Everyone is full of optimism and ready to work hard to get the job done.

Introduction from James Bendle


I am an Earth Science Lecturer< and research group leader< at the University of Glasgow, UK. I’ll be keeping a diary about the everyday ups and downs of life onboard whilst trying to conduct research in a floating (and pitching and rolling) chemistry< laboratory on IODP expedition 318!

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