Preparing to Drill!

This entry is written by Debbie Thomas, co-chief scientist of Expedition 378. It comes from her Expedition 378 Odyssey blog, which can be found here.

Current location: 45° 48′ S; 172° 38′ E

Local time: 1120 Jan 13

Our current ETA to arrive at Site U1553 is now 1200 Jan 15 (this is 1700 Jan 14 back home in College Station for those of you following along in timezone wonderland). Preparations to begin drilling operations have begun in earnest, and LC had the chance to head aft to see the activity on the rig floor and down in the engine room.

Two weathered-looking pieces of drill pipe, one with a drill bit at the end, sitting on the rig floor. A fuzzy green plushie (Little Cthulhu) sits on the floor next to the drill pipe.
When Glen, the 0000-1200 shift driller, walked out onto the rig floor, he exclaimed, “What the heck is that?!?!” We think it’s because LC forgot the personal protection equipment required on the rig floor.

LC is sitting next to the very first drill bit that we will deploy on site to begin APC coring operations. Kevin Grigar, our Operations Superintendent, provided me with some very cool animations that explain the drilling and coring process, except that they are too big to upload from the JR. So, I took some key screen captures and cobbled them together in a pdf that is still really informative:

In other news, we have been adopted by dozens of beautiful albatross, and I snapped nearly a hundred pictures trying to get a cool shot:

An albatross flying over the ocean. The sky is grey and the sea is a bit rough.
Could you just hold still for one second…
The transit has been an amazing opportunity to develop collaborations and friendships, to learn how to operate the analytical instrumentation and work with the software, and to take photos of albatross (albatrosses?). But we are ready to drill. Can’t wait to see the Bottom Hole Assembly drop through the moonpool on Wednesday!!!

The moon pool of the JR - a vertical slit in the floor of the boat, through which a round pool of ocean water can be seen. A segment of pipe hangs above the moon pool.
Bring it.

Until the next time,


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