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The sea is very bumpy today!

 Yesterday the sea was totally calm, like that described in the Tale of the Ancient Mariner. There were no white horses on the tips of waves, just a very gently undulating blue carpet in all directions, and little wind. A sailing craft could well have been becalmed.  Luckily our large diesel generators kept the electric motors pushing us onwards towards our destination.

So long and thanks for all the fish

Our last day of Expedition 349 and we are sailing up the East coast of Taiwan unfortunately somewhat far offshore so that we do not have a view of the spectacular mountains that form the escarpment along the East coast of that island.

Write, Revise and Resubmit

We are now sailing off the southern tip of Taiwan on our way to Keelung and we all acutely aware of the fact that the time is running out for us. Unfortunately the work is not running out just yet because we are still required to read, revise and indeed in some cases complete our reports for the final site before we are allowed to get off the vessel and collapse.

Show me the way to go home

Our time on Expedition 349 is up and just after breakfast the captain gave the order to cease drilling operations and to retrieve the drill string so that we could make our way back to Keelung, Taiwan for the end of the expedition.

Sand and yet more sand

Well the sun has not quite set on our little expedition just yet but we are getting close to the end. Today was the last full day for coring and one on which we were readjusting our hopes for this site based on the disappearance of the crystalline basement we were expecting.

All good things come to an end

We are heading the last part of the 349 Expedition, just 4 days left!. It seems that the South China Sea had a very last surprise for us; more than 200 meters of sediments and sedimentary rocks coming up in the cores that we expected to be basalts, according to the seismic profiles.

Missing basement

Today was a classic one for ocean drilling science. At this site we had used geophysics to determine that there would be igneous or some other hard rock close below the seafloor, mantled perhaps by 10 or 20 m of soft recent sediment.

Back on site

This afternoon we finally arrived at our last drill site, U1435, where we just have three precious days to try and sample igneous rocks close to the continent ocean transition as a final hurrah at the end of our cruise.

Northeast winds

We are now underway towards our last site and battling into the teeth of an extremely strong wind coming in from the northeast. While this is hardly a wild storm it is however making our going slow.

Stormy weather

I woke this morning to the rocking and creaking of the ship which told me that the weather had again changed and that we were now experiencing rough sea conditions. The last time this happened was several weeks ago when we had to abandon drilling at Site U1432.

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