Today’s blog is really not glamorous. The theme of the day is boxes, our own boxes and those of the next science party, a training cruise for aspiring seagoing young investigators co-led by Dan Fornari. (It is amazing what they teach nowadays, mobilizing the entire costly apparatus of Atlantis and Alvin!) The equipment boxes of this trainee party need to migrate out from the upper deck container that housed them for over two weeks, and move into the main lab, a daunting prospect for small car-sized gear. The Atlantis crew and crane ride to the rescue in time before self-inflicted injuries can be incurred. In turn, we begin to move our boxes into the container and fill it halfway.
The only problem is, the trainee boxes occupy the space that is usually reserved for the tennis table; no games for the time being… their silent presence speaks of the transitory character of the cruise experience. We are winding this adventure down, while others are setting out in anticipation, perhaps even equipped with a visa de cooperante.
Most of the afternoon is spent packing our own boxes, which seem to have multiplied while nobody was looking, and then cleaning the labs. The ideal is to leave no trace, no dirt, no mystery chemicals, nothing that could infringe on the scientific success of the next cruise party. It also means leaving no cores! The cold room has accumulated many of these that have remained unclaimed. Gunter calls for a core auction after dinner. Here we see him appraising Guaymas sediment cores, explaining their extraordinary biogeochemical potential and extolling the fantastic sampling sites where they are from. This or that core could redirect an entire scientific career! Mandy is looking sceptical but in the end takes some cores. Gunter also adopts some. I take the remainders at a reduced price, just like at Ocean State Job Lot. We do not want to throw them away; factoring in the daily costs of Atlantis and Alvin, obtaining one pound of Guaymas mud costs at least 1000 dollars.
While the final cores are divided up, the internet keeps getting better as the ship moves closer to shore. Update announcements for obscure programs begin to pop open on every screen. The fangs and tentacles of the web are reaching out… this means checking email soon, a much-dreaded prospect.