Blog posts


So…back to reality? An IODP cruise has aspects of what I suspect being institutionalized might be like. Chad, the curator on our expedition (who sails 2 months on – 2 months off all year) calls this blurry transitional period when you have disembarked the JOIDES Resolution (JR) but have not quite found your life again the time of decompression.

It’s a good term. It’s like deflating and struggling to breath in your old (normal?) life.

As I write this, I have been off the JR for 1 week. During my (ongoing) decompression, I spent a surreal two days in Taipei and completed my long journey back to the UK, including a bizarre stopover in protest-riddled Hong Kong.

Where Cue Balls are Flat

It has been a while since my last entry. What has happened in the interim? Well, scientifically, quite a bit, and you can catch some highlights on the JOIDES Resolution facebook page.

As for the day-to-day business of living, I have to report that my goal of taking a picture of every sunrise has failed. Not so much in that I missed one, but in that the novelty of stunning open ocean sunrises has (predictably) diminished. And there was rain once. The core lab was briefly invaded by a shark (sadly not in a tornado), but he was easily defeated.

In lew of fending off fearsome fish, sunrise anticipation and photographic organization thereafter….and

Death by Nomenclature

Entry Three: Death by Nomenclature

Quick: tell me what the difference is between a diktytaxitic and hyalopilitic texture? No? Nesophitic vs. Intersertal? ….perhaps? Cumulate vs. Adcumulate? Ok – that was an easy one….

Let me back-up and preface this entry with my admittedly flimsy excuses. I had great undergraduate petrology classes – I remember these terms, I remember doing astonishingly well in my optical (thin sections of rocks) and petrology (just the rocks) classes. However, I realize that I actually am…..further on in my career and have taken a dark path into more geochemical realms.

Why am I bothering you with these terms?


Entry Two: It’s all about timing

 Over the past few days,  my thoughts have been consumed with the perception of time.

But first things first. Many must be waiting with baited breath after my last informative portrayal of Japanese toilets…. so I have included a picture of their counterparts on the JR. A single button. No room for ambiguity. One every day life challenge is averted.

We boarded the JR on the 31st of July and departed Yokohama on the 4th of August. (see obligatory Yokohama bridge photo). Our JR-based port call seemed somewhat unending. When we were finally ready to depart many (including myself) felt as though we had been together for months!

A beginning


Over the next two months I will be blogging about sailing on the vessel JOIDES Resolution (JR) as a member of the science party on the Integrated Ocean Discovery Program’s (IODP) Expedition 352 to the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Forearc.

Phew. That’s a mouthful. Let’s try and make it simpler.

What is the “Integrated Ocean Discovery Program” (IODP)? The IODP is an international effort to explore the sediments and rocks that make up the ocean floor through scientific drilling. A vast number of nations participate, inviting applications from researchers on a competitive basis to sail on expeditions which generally last 8 weeks.