Coring is all about “hurry up and wait,” and we are currently in the “wait” phase of that. My subgroup of the science party arrived on the L/B Myrtle a few days ago, got our labs in order, settled in to our shifts, and have been patiently waiting for the upper portion of the hole to be completed.
I’d been warned ahead of time by friends that have sailed before that IODP expeditions can involve a lot of downtime for micropaleontologists, so I made sure to bring plenty of work. Of course, it’s one thing to quietly work on a manuscript in a coffee shop in Austin, and quite another to focus on one a few meters from a drill rig that, in short time, will be bringing you fresh samples for an exciting new project. So when I get antsy and can’t focus on writing I need to find other things to occupy my time. I’ve been watching movies with my shipmates (just finished Predator*), made a playlist of waiting music (sample tracks: “Something Soon,” by Car Seat Headrest; “Can’t Keep Checking my Phone,” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra; “Buggin’ Out,” by A Tribe Called Quest), and have been reading a book. I’ve also spent a substantial amount of time sitting and watching the drill rig as they add pipe and the top drive moves up and down. It’s better than TV.
I think my favorite pastime, though, is leaning on the rail and staring out at the Gulf. It’s strange to be at sea and to be completely stationary, but I still never get tired of looking out at the water. Those are usually the times where it hits me that I’m actually out here doing this, and how cool this all is. Which is good, because there probably won’t be a whole lot of time to sit and reflect once we have core.
Chris Lowery – Micropalaeontologist