Land is in sight! The transit has been remarkably kind to us, the weather seeming to behave more or less as forecast. We’ve ducked and weaved and zigzagged our way between the pressure systems that line up to batter ships daring to sail this part of the ocean, and emerged relatively unscathed. We entered Australian waters mid-afternoon yesterday, and 24 hours later we were creeping into a broad, cliff-lined bay from where we’ll sail into Hobart with daybreak tomorrow. The air smells of salt and land, and humidity is an odd sensation.

Science has been packed up, boxes and hard drives filled, and papers planned (started, even!). Hallway conversations continue to strike up with suddenly remembered ideas to pass on. Transit time has been no less busy than science time. Old routines die hard, and I’ve stayed on a night pattern. After days of fog, the winds swept the skies clear and brought out the stars and, more than I’d hoped for, a dancing aurora over the last 3–4 nights.

Tomorrow: land. This experience has been like no other, I can’t even begin to sum it up.

Aurora australis

Aurora australis. Photo: Brian Demet