Off We Go: First Days at Sea

I never thought I would get the chance to sail on the JOIDES Resolution. Ever since I started using IODP samples and data in my research on ocean island volcanoes, I have been fascinated with scientific ocean drilling.

I was lucky enough to visit the JOIDES Resolution twice, when it made port calls in Victoria, Canada. And now, this incredible research ship will be my home for the next two months.  I am one of the Education Officers for Expedition 354, and along with my partner Lisa Strong, we are responsible for communicating the onboard science to students, educators, family and friends around the world.

A few days ago, I boarded the JOIDES Resolution in Singapore along with the rest of the Bengal Fan Science Party, and what a busy few days they have been! The Chief Scientists kicked things off with a presentation of the expedition science objectives, followed by the Expedition Project Manager who introduced how we are actually going to accomplish those objectives. Each of scientists then had a chance to explain their individual research goals and plans. We also had safety orientations and tours given by the Captain, First Mate, and Assistant Lab Officer, as well as our first fire and boat drill and anti-piracy security drill.

The Science Party has been busy in their labs, getting training from technical staff on data systems, instrument software, as well as the overall science core flow. Individual lab groups – broken down into sedimentologists, petrophysicists, paleomagnetists, geochemists and paleontologists – have been meeting to prepare their instruments, methods, sampling plans, and workflow so that they will be ready for the first core on deck! On the education and outreach side of things, Lisa and I have been updating the website, blogging, and posting on our official social media channels. To prepare for our live video interactions with schools and museums, we have been communicating with
shore-based educators to schedule broadcasts, testing our webcasting equipment and planning our tour route.

We departed Singapore yesterday and began our transit through the Malacca Strait. For most of us, the reality has really started to sink in and the excitement is building as we sail ever closer to our first drill site!