The end is nigh (in a good way)

Good afternoon folks,

Well the expedition is drawing to a close as we’re currently only a few miles off Singapore waiting for another ship to move out of the way, then we’ll be off the ship and into the nearest bar! Wayhey!

It’s been a fantastic expedition, despite the delays we had at the beginning with obtaining permissions from India….and the lightening strike that damaged the hydraulics…. and the broken core cable that took 6 hours to fish out of the hole…. yeah, well, despite all that we still managed to get over 4.2 km of pristine core from a region of the ocean that has never been scientifically drilled before – a huge achievement!

Doubtless we, and other scientists around the world, will be working with the material we collected for years to come, discovering new insights into monsoon dynamics and adding to the great pool of human knowledge. Fingers crossed the grant-giving gods are smiling on us and we can get the all important post-cruise science funded!

I still have some blog posts and interviews that I never got round to putting up (sorry, I’ve been kinda busy with the cores!) that will get put up belatedly over the next week or so, but I thought that by way of a wrap-up it would be nice to share my ongoing list of things I miss from home vs. things I will miss from the JR…

Things that I miss from home

Loved ones. Do I even need to mention that. Ok then I’m mentioning it, loved ones – you know who you are!

Eating vegetables that are not boiled to buggery, fresh salad, real non-UHT milk and bananas. God I never knew how much I loved bananas until I couldn’t just have one whenever I fancied.

Sitting in a park and breathing in the smell of grass, and hearing birds in the trees.

Trees

[The last trees and greenery I saw… back in November 2014!]

Having a day off to do what I want. Weekends and regular ~8-hour working days are going to seem so deliciously decadent after 61 days of straight work. Phew.

Having a lay-in. Oh dear god a kingdom for one extra hour in bed from time to time!

My own lovely king-size bed, with a proper spring mattress and room to spread-eagle if I want. Oh yeah. Bring it on!

Being able to buy anything any time I want. Run out of shampoo? No problem. Fancy a Twirl? Done. You have to have foreseen every last whim back in November and planned accordingly, or it’ll be February before you can scratch that itch. (Luckily as this is the second time I’ve sailed I managed to get it mostly right this time… except for only bringing one jar of Nutella. Rookie mistake).

Being able to walk in a straight line for more than 10 strides, and without going up or down a staircase. When I get home I’m going to go for the longest walk (in a straight line) of my life!

Things I will miss from the JR

The people. You get so close working 12 hours a day with a small group of dedicated people, and manage to have lots of fun and laughs along the way. I’ll miss these guys!

last sunset

[the gang enjoying the last sunset on the top deck last night. Good times]

Having someone do all my laundry for me. Such luxury. I think I’ve forgotten how to work a washing machine…

Having someone preparing all my meals and doing all the washing up afterwards. Absolute. Bliss.

Being called “miss Kate” by the lovely catering guys, and seeing all the effort they put into making the holiday season fun for everyone.

Watching the sunset and the moonrise over the beautiful Indian Ocean. Watching the ripples on the surface, the fish under the surface, and having a 360 degree view of nothing but ocean all around.

sunset small1

The fact you are excused from checking emails and dealing with banal elements of your regular life whilst at sea. (I am not looking forward to dealing with the backlog of emails when I get back though!).

Being a part of a functioning and focused team. Although being a successful academic requires collaboration with other scientists, most of the time it’s something of a solo effort where you spend lots of time working alone on several different projects and proposals at a time. Here on the JR you all pull together towards one common goal as a unit, which is a nice change.

Being surrounded by people from lots of different cultures, countries and scientific specialties – when I’m at sea I always learn so much about different customs, languages, food…. and funding agency peculiarities!

Improving my ping pong skills (from a very low baseline, I have to confess).

Having a gym about 12 steps from my bedroom. There really is no excuse for not getting in shape on the JR. And with that ice cream machine available 24 hours a day, it really is a necessity…

……..

So, it’s been fun! Thanks for reading along with me and saying hi on Twitter from time to time. Hopefully it’s been an interesting insight into life at sea with IODP.

So long from the JR for now!

windy day

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