K-Axis Day 35: Halfway point

Someone told me tonight as I was starting my shift that we had just crossed the halfway point in our voyage. Halfway… it feels like we have been out here for years. It seems impossible that we have another month left before we arrive home in Hobart. Tho for everyone on the ship right now, the end of marine science is the only date on our mind and that occurs on midnight of the 17th Feb.

We’ve run more MIDOCs and CTDs than we had initially planned and we’re all counting the last of our reagents and plastic tubes in hope that we don’t run out before the end. We’re all overwhelmed with data and samples to process when we get home. The only group who have a little more work to do is the krill/zooplankton group who are going to be doing a krill survey for 3 days after we leave Mawson. I expect we’ll all be helping out with whatever is required to get it completed in time.

Briefings and organisation have begun for our arrival at Mawson and the beginning of our next key objective for this voyage, Mawson resupply. The non-science people on the ship have been mobilised and our CTD casts are suddenly devoid of those extra sets of hands in the middle of the night/early morning. A call has come out for helpers for resupply and it appears that the science team are keen to give back all the help that we’ve received these last few weeks so that resupply goes as smoothly as marine science has. We’ll also be receiving the appropriate briefings so that everyone has the opportunity to go ashore and test out their sea legs on solid ground.

I’m looking forward to going back to days and not having to spend most of my night in the stainless steel box that is my lab. I’m also looking forward to only one of my daily meals being breakfast and to eating my dinner when its freshly made, instead of 8-12hrs old. This marine voyage has been quite an incredible learning experience but I look forward to taking a break in a few days and getting back to a normal routine. I hope to be able to check my emails and such when I get to Mawson. Its been nice to be completely cut off from the internet but unfortunately the world keeps turning while we’re out here so I may have a few things to attend to while I’m there.

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