At 5 am on Monday, 45 days of science came to an end. We’d shifted our plans with the winds in our final survey area, and I guess someone had a word with the sea gods because the waters calmed down enough to get some decent multibeam data in the end. The weather gods had other ideas, throwing a snowstorm our way in the pitch dark, reducing visibility and the ship’s speed, 2 hours out from our final core site with the clock ticking down to handover. Another quick change of plans and, fortunately, a short-lived snowstorm (though one that had me pretty worried!) and our final core came up on deck at 04.40. Perfect timing!

The tally:

  • 15 042 km survey lines
  • 980 hours of multibeam collection
  • 420 GB raw, unprocessed geophysical data
  • 66 kasten cores
  • 7 jumbo piston cores and trigger cores
  • 1 jumbo gravity core
  • 1 box core and 7 grab samples
  • >134 m of mud

So now we’re in transit, and in transition. Hobart beckons, 8 days away across the raging Southern Ocean. Routines are no longer, the normal structure of a science day is broken. Most people have transitioned from shifts to a normal working day, and this will hopefully be a time to finalise datasets, prepare all our samples and geophysical data to take away from the boat with us and, with a bit of luck, discuss our interpretations and plans for paper writing. Science acquisition might be over, but there’s still a lot to do. Seasickness depending…

I’m in fact still working through the night. In practical terms, it relieves pressure on the geophysics computers. Mostly though, there’s a calm about the night shift that I’m not quite ready to give up. It has been the time of the most spectacular vistas, and I wouldn’t change those magical moments for anything. Two days of fog hasn’t granted me any more starry night views, yet, but I’m still hoping!


Sunset. Photo: Sarah Greenwood

Mount Erebus

Mount Erebus in the background. Photo: Sarah Greenwood


Our trail through the sea ice. Photo: Sarah Greenwood

The moon

The moon. Photo: Sarah Greenwood