I’m writing this from the galley of the R/V New Horizon, somewhere off the coast of northern Mexico. We set sail (figuratively) around 11am after waiting for a last minute FedEx shipment. One group’s gear got stuck in customs and a fairly epic effort was made to round up a minimal amount of supplies from various people at Scripps as well as many of out home institutions, and a family connection in a local pharmaceutical company. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to show up for a cruise after months of prep only to find that your gear isn’t there and have to re-think all of your science plans! The delay set us back a day, but we may be able to recoup that on the return by coming in a day later.

So far the seas are surprisingly calm. I guess I am used to the less calm northern Pacific Ocean. I’m hoping that bodes well for my seasickness. So far so good though – no signs yet! After lunch we did a pirate drill, which they apparently only rarely do on this boat, but since we’re headed into Mexican possibly (but not likely) drug smuggler infested waters it was decided that the crew would practice the pirate drill, just in case. What is my role in the case of pirate attack you ask? I play a pivotal role by hiding in a locked room with the other scientists – no complaints here. We also went through the more common man over board drill and other emergency procedures. After the drills the res-techs (two Scripps people whose job it is to help the science team get their work done, and keep us from breaking the ship or ourselves in the process) went through all the rules with us about how to behave on the ship (i.e., don’t piss off the cook!), where we are allowed to be, how to get help if we need it, how to deal with trash (new rules mean that we will be bringing ALL of our trash back with us to San Diego), and more.

Now we steam for about 90 hours before we get to our site. During this time people will be organizing and setting up (although that seems to be mostly done by now), and as a group we will be thinking about how best to use our now even more limited time at our study sites. Due to currents and the additional moves further south moving from site to site, it will take even longer to make the return trip which means we are limited to only about 5 days of science. I hadn’t through of it that way when I was planning so, so I’m now realizing how jam packed that few days will be. I’m looking forward to (hopefully) well organized chaos!

Unfortunately the Internet connection is very slow on board (think 1 dial up connection split among 30 people), so I don’t know how many photos I’ll be able to post. Hopefully the text only posts won’t be a problem though.