We arrive on site today to begin our first operations in this region. Even before we had arrived the familiar crashing and clanking of drill pipe over the roof of the science laboratories had started as the drillers began to make up the bottom hole assembly which is the heavy part at the bottom of the drilling pipe (or string as it is called) that is used to start the initial hole into the sea floor. We expect to have our first samples on deck sometime in the early hours of the morning tomorrow. It’s a misty and hazy here at this time of year so that sunrises have been rather disappointing since the sun just rises into an enormous bank of clouds, although it does clear up later which is nice and of course the air is nice and warm at these low latitudes in the Indian Ocean. A few lucky people have seen dolphins playing in the waves but so far all I have had to contemplate is the deep blue waters that are racing beneath our keel when I walk out onto the deck to get some fresh air from time to time. We are however reminded of the realities of modern work in the western Indian Ocean by the appearance of razor wire around the ship to discourage uninvited guests from paying us a visit.