This morning, at exactly 0300, chief scientist Jim Gaherty pulled the pelican release hook for the last time, sending our 30th and final OBS into the water. Last but not least! Almost half of the science party appeared for the occasion, looking sleepy (we’re not all on night shifts!) but providing an appropriate air of pomp and circumstance.
In honour of this being the last deployment of the cruise, Carlos (our resident artist extraordinaire) used electrical tape to fashion a fantastic rendering of our PacificORCA logo – which he designed a couple of weeks ago – on the side of the OBS body. The whole science team added their signatures, and we affixed a spare recovery flag to add extra jauntiness to the whole affair: a fitting totem to a remarkably successful series of deployments. Our enormous thanks for such smooth sailing again go to the tireless ship’s crew and SIO techs; we recognise that a vast amount of work goes into making everything appear so easy.
Although this means we’re heading back to loved ones, fast internet, and certainly a celebratory beer or two, this bittersweet moment also signalled that our expedition will soon be drawing to an end. The novelty and excitement of life at sea has still not worn off for most of us. We are still eager to see new seabirds and now-familiar stars, and to gaze for hours into the hypnotic waves.
Now let’s see if that enthusiasm withstands the 9-day transit back to land!
Zach Eilon, on behalf of the PacificORCA team