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. It seems like Site 1435 did not want to show us the crystalline basement but we did end up with a nice pile of sand which I at least think is a wonderful thing to work with. The South China Sea does not yield its secrets quite so easily it appears.. It is now time to clean up, pack up and head back to our homes. It will take us a bit over two days to get there but we have a lot to do in the meantime, not least completing our shipboard reports while the technicians will be cleaning the laboratories for the next scientific party who are already waiting for us at the port. The weather has improved sharply since the high winds we had only a few days ago and now we are making good speed towards our final destination. At the present rate we will be there earlier than we had originally anticipated but whether we will be able to enter the port is another question since that will depend on whether there is anywhere to tie up and whether customs and pilot services are available if we were to arrive in the middle of night. I can imagine my first delicious Taiwan beer but it may be a little while before I get to enjoy it yet.