Last night we rang in the New Year in traditional JR fashion – on the bow.
Our Spanish friends alerted everyone to a custom of eating 12 grapes on New year's – one for every month of the year. We all gathered around the bell on the bow, clutching out bowls of grapes and counting down to 2012. The operations superintendent, Ron Grout, ran the old year out and the youngest person on the ship, Satoshi Furota, ran the new 2012 in. It was a lot of fun and we got some history on the custom. Apparently, it comes from the time when the ships didn't have clocks, instead they had hourglasses and someone was always in charge of ringing the bell every time the hourglass had to be turned. That's how they kept time!
We didn't manage to finish drilling site U1389 so normal lab procedures continued in between the dancing and the celebrations. Around 8:30am this morning the last core from this site came up, ~990m!!!! A great start to the new year.
This post has another purpose as well – I want to tell you about our unsung hero – the education officer. I bet some of you have been keeping up with his posts and wondering what is it that he does. Everyone knows that there are the scientists and the techs who keep the labs running 24/7 and the crew and catering staff who keep us afloat/operational/fed and clean. Then, there's one additional person who is key to making this expedition a success – the education officer. The education officer for this cruise is Helder Pereira and he's a high school science teacher from Portugal. We all do some really exciting and cutting edge science here on the ship. We gather important insights into our home, the Earth. However, as everyone who has been on a research vessel before knows, everything is done on a tight deadline. Getting the sites drilled and the cores analyzed is our top priority. Sometimes it happens that just when the most exciting things happen we are too busy to share it with all of you on shore. That's where Helder comes in. He keeps the ship's facebook page and this blog updated. He also does terrific video conferences with schools and universities around the world – taking them around the ship and showing them the operations in real time. He has the science background to understand what the different labs do and convey it to all of you. Not to mention, as witnessed in the attached picture, he's ready to jump in and lend a hand whenever a lab needs some extra help. In return we hope that we're providing him with some great, cutting edge, science experience that he can share with his students once he's back in his classroom in Portugal and who knows, maybe one day some of his students will be inspired to sail on the JR too.
Happy new year, everyone!