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. After spending more than 10 days preparing our hole for deep drilling and getting the casing into place to a depth of about 800 m sub-seafloor the pipe became stuck after the end of the cement work, the last stage before coring would recommence. It was impossible to extract the pipe (pull out of hole = POOH) or to continue deepening the hole. This means that we’ve had to abandon our drilling at this site and indeed in a rather dramatic way by lowering dynamite down the pipe and blowing off the end of the pipe so that we can at least salvage the 4 km of pipe between us and the seafloor (see actual photograph from the rig floor). Fortunately we have a plan B for just such an eventuality and so that we can achieve some of our goals in this area, but the episode did leave people feeling a bit down. The more experienced marine geologists know that these things happen from time to time with complex sea-going operations and that we still have a good amount of time to make important progress before the end of the cruise.