Susan Gebbels's blog
Before I left the UK I visited several schools to introduce myself and tell them about the expedition. I also asked them if they had a mascot that I could take with me to help explain the expedition. Each week I sent photographs of the mascots helping with different aspects of the research or to illustrate life on board.
We left the Hess Deep rift on Tuesday evening and are now underway on our 6 day transit to Panama. Our current position is Lat 3 28.3 and Lon 95.44 we are cruising along at 11.5 knots.
It's Sunday which means lifeboat drill. Each week, as the emergency bell and horn ring out, we don our life jackets, hard hats and safety goggles and muster at our stations for role call. Each drill has a different message: last time we discovered how to start the lifeboat, the week before there was a demonstration of them being lowered into the sea.
After several attempts to get a stable, new hole started, this weeks drilling has been very successful. The P hole (no jokes please) has yielded some interesting results and several meters of Gabbro. We are now coring 58 meters below the seafloor and the hole is holding up.
The longer we stay in one spot the greater the diversity of marine life around us. It started with flying fish and squid, then mahi mahi, frigate birds, whales boobies and now turtles and sharks.
Several members of the science party are Scottish or have Scottish roots so a Burn's Night celebration was proposed. In Scotland, 25th January is the day for remembering the poet Robbie Burns of Auld Lang Syne fame. The event involves the eating of haggis, (a sort of meaty, oatmeal dish), tatties (potatoes) and neaps (mashed turnips) all washed down with plenty of Whiskey.
A few night ago Michael Cheaddle took this amazing shot of the moon and Jupiter from the steel beach on the top deck of the JR. This area is the perfect place to watch for whales, see the sun go down or read a book on one of the sun loungers... just beware of the stealth flying Frigate birds and their deadly ammunition of guano...
Many of the schools that we are working with have adopted Expedition 345 and are using it throughout their teaching curriculum. One School, Brandling (UK), have made this replicate drawing of the JOIDES Resolution, Abbeyfields (UK) have linked it in with their materials topic, Ecole Bastide (France) and Bruce Monroe (USA) have studied the deep sea animals in the Hess Deep.
One of the most interesting things about this expedition is learning about the different cultures of people from all over the world. There is a real mix of nationalities on board, Europeans, Americans, Japanese to name a few.
We could not re-enter the funnel and the hole could not be found. SO..we are going to drill another. This means that all the pipes have to been brought up to the surface for the drill bit to be changed and then all the pipes have to be lowered back down again. This takes around 24hours.