What a difference a day makes. This time yesterday we were getting quite deep, more than 400 m below the seafloor in our first hole and encountering increasingly strong and stiff clay material which made our drilling slower and resulted in us having to change our strategy and adopt a new type of drilling technology called an extended core barrel (XCB).
The photograph here shows technician Adam Bogus trying to hammer a sample out from the core catcher and give it to waiting paleontologist Stephan Steinke just before we made the change from piston core to XCB. We had not been doing this for very long when a mechanical failure occurred and part of our drilling bit fell off into the hole which makes things rather difficult for extending the hold to greater depths. Fortunately we were about to stop operations anyway and so we moved across to drill a shallow hole for microbiology studies, so this did not cause a massive inconvenience for us. This morning we have changed yet again and are now drilling in a third hole, this time trying to repeat the section that we took in the first one. So far, as before, it has been quite easy-going so let’s hope that continues.