10th February 2020

by Ellie Pryor

Everyone was up early for breakfast and morning coffee and spirits were high as we were fast approaching our first site!!

Today’s itinerary involves workgroup meetings and staying upright! Although the Indian Ocean is being kind to us today, so everyone has the chance to get their sea legs! Whilst we travel toward site 1, everyone is hard at work either individually or for the pre-site survey preparation. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to explain the life onboard, shift patterns, meal times and cabins.

The R/V Marion Dufresne is a cargo shift, with a helicopter pad and carrier and fitted with science labs and equipment for research. She is quite a spacious 120m long ship, with a bar, cinema, library and gym for leisure activities.

We will be working in three shifts, 8-12, 12-4 or 4-8. This is when we work on the sediment cores, involving labelling, cutting, slicing, scanning and storing. Mealtimes work around the shift times, breakfast is from 7-8.30am, there are two lunch services, 11am and 12.15pm, and dinner is either 6pm or 7.15pm. So far, we have been treated to table service and a cheese board after lunch and dinner, long may this continue!

We each have individual cabins with an ensuite which was a pleasant surprise considering usually the cabins are shared. This means we do not have to tip toe around to avoid waking up our cabin mate when we get in at 4am after a shift! We have been working through until dinner time but are free to go to our cabins if we want to chill out. There is even a nice viewing platform up on deck which is nice to watch the waves and appreciate the views as we sail towards site 1, with the Agulhas Current pushing us forward.