Not quite yet but the end of the expedition (EoX in IODP language) is in sight. We are now in our eighth week of the expedition and thus all of us are looking forward to get back on land and even more to get back home to our families and friends (not that we wouldn’t have made new ones on this boat). Slowly, also our supplies are running out, most fruits are gone and only some melons and green apples are left. But hey, we are still drilling. Currently we give the turbine-driven coring system (TDCS) another go and keep poking the top of Brothers. Already so far, it has been a really successful expedition and we are looking forward to continue our studies on shore. A few days of really bad weather are also behind us with wind gusts up to 50 kts or Beaufort 10, which is equivalent to storm-force. The sea was once more building up to more than 6 meter waves but it looks now like we have a nice stretch of weather ahead for the rest of the expedition.
Almost eight weeks of working every day (yes, there is no such thing as weekends or public holidays) at least 12 hours (sometimes more because we need time to hand-over and discuss science and other expedition results with our opposing shift) are now behind us and I have to admit that this is really the limit of what you can carry out without any break. But, it is next Wednesday that we will start our transit back to Auckland where we will get off the ship at around lunchtime on Thursday. Most of us (including myself) will be flying home the day after but some of us take the opportunity for a well-earned short vacation in New Zealand. The JOIDES Resolution will leave Auckland short after for some refurbishing in a dry dock in the Philippines. Today, the JR also turned 40 and so she really deserves some fresh paint 😉