Go west!

After our disappointment yesterday we started today with a new plan for renewal and determination to make the best of our last few weeks at sea. Unfortunately the weather has become rougher in the last day so our original idea of continuing to drill close to Hole U1432, but in a location where the igneous basement was close to the sea floor is not feasible under these conditions.

POOH Crisis

Unfortunately this crisis has nothing to do with Winnie-the-Pooh or even Pooh Sticks. Today was not a good one for Exhibition 349 and one that will no doubt be marked by a good deal of cake and cookie therapy later in the galley.

Ship-to-shore video

One of the new developments for me about returning to the drilling vessel after some years of absence is the transformation in outreach that is now going on as an integral part of each cruise.

Tiny details

It has been long time since my last post, thanks Peter Clift ( keeps posting and informing you about the latest updates of the 349 Expedition.


Today was a relatively quiet one for the science party, while at the same time on the rig floor the final string of casing has been lowered into the hole successfully and is being cemented into place, which is the last phase before the renewal of coring activities.

Birthday Surprise

It should be no great surprise that when you take about 120 people and stick them together for two months that every few days there will be a birthday.

Planning the drilling

The decision has now been made to end our casing operations at 800 m below the sea floor, not 900 m as originally planned, because we've now entered the zone a very hard rock, which should be stable for the deeper part of the drilling. The decision to stop casing is taken by the drillers in consultation with the scientific leadership.

Power behind the drill

One of the more interesting aspects of the tour of the vessel has been the discovery of the power behind the drilling and in the case of the ship this is literally true because the engine rooms are located close to the stern of the vessel in the form of five rather large diesel engines with two smaller supplementary sources even when we are stationary and drilling the vessel is burning through aro

Ship tours

Because we are waiting for the casing to be done the science party is taking the opportunity to see the rest of this large ship beyond the spaces that we normally inhabit lead around by the IODP Operations Superintendent Steve Midgeley.

Hump Day

Today is the exact mid point of the cruise between when we left Hong Kong and when we would arrive in Taiwan. This day has been known for many years as “hump day” when we go over the hump of time in the middle of the cruise and its all downhill from here.

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