Towards the end of summer…

So here we are now, in the middle of the Pacific. Well, actually a bit northeast of the middle, but the feeling is all the same. It is a very special thing to be on a tiny ship completely surrounded by nothing but endless water. If the weather is pleasant like now, it really feels great! Having sailed on other research vessels before, this is my first IOPD expedition, and even though we have not even reached the first drill site, it is already a great and very special experience. Not only for the many scientific participants that – like myself – never were onboard Joides Resolution before, but especially for our Co-Chief Scientists Christina and Kozo. They have been planning this exciting expedition for many years, and finally it is reality!

I guess people at home might be asking: What are those lazy guys doing out there if they haven’t even got the first drill site? The answer is: Really a lot… It is hard to imagine beforehand what it takes to make such an expedition a successful one. First of all, you have to get used to the totally new environment of the ship, where you constantly get lost and find yourself standing in some hallway you have never seen before. Trivial things like how to open that locker or how to flush that toilet. Then there is lots of new information regarding scientific objectives of the cruise, safety issues, the various data bases and software packages used onboard… And most important, every scientist is part of a team of specialists starting to get really busy as soon as the first core arrives on deck. There are paleontologists, geochemists, microbiologists, sedimentologists, stratigraphic correlators, physical property and magnetics people… Although we are greatly supported by a team of cheerful and very skilled technicians, everyone has to be prepared the best possible way for the first cores. The beauty of these IODP cruises is that by the time we leave the ship in Yokohama, we will already have created a large dataset from the recovered sediments – at least that’s the idea of it… So we all have to get used to our onboard duties, and – not always an easy one – learn how to make the computer software store away the right data in the right place. Not to forget that we all have to get into our 12 hour shifts, especially those running midnight to noon…
So this is all very exciting, and I have the feeling that we are all very aware of what a great honor it is to sail onboard this ship. And everyone is really excited to see the first soupy samples!
All the best from the North Pacific

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