Today is the 36th day on site (and 40th day since arriving in Victoria, Canada). We are entering our 6th week at sea when the dreaded 6th week blues are rumored to be hanging around. We're doing our best to ward them off and the weather is delightfully in on the plan. :)
The last few days, we've seen quite a few whales, undoubtedly on their way south for the winter. Although they keep their distance (and who would blame them with all the noise we're making with our thrusters and drills), they're still capable of dragging everyone out of their work and out to the bow of the ship.
Last night, we saw the most beautiful sunset we've seen the whole cruise. Pinks, purples, oranges...Reminded me of the Phoenician sunsets back home. Just made me smile. :) I'm afraid to say that the sunset lost against the whales last night. Alot of us were pointing our cameras toward the sunset capturing the beautifully painted sky but pointing our eyes and our binoculars to the right hoping to catch another spray and maybe a breach. Whale watchers were not disappointed. It was amazing! We saw two sets of sprays, one larger than the other which we interpreted to be a mom and her calf. You can see one of the sprays in the left side of the picture up top just under the horizon. Seems so insignificant but it all made our hearts smile.
Today continues our wonderful weather trend. Tuesday, wednesday and thursday were just too windy and gray to enjoy the outdoors. Then the storm passed and we were enjoying some nice weather. I thought yesterday was nice! Today was GORGEOUS! So gorgeous, in fact, that much of the science party jumped at the opportunity to bust out the flip flops, sun screen and bathing suits. Yes, bathing suits! A few of the scientists decided to take a dip in the ROV pool which I hear was very refreshing. The rest of us dragged out the lawn chairs, our books and our needlepoint and just soaked up every ray of sunshine. For a second there, it felt like a cruise liner. So wonderful. For once, it felt like summer. We all feel recharged having had a cruise worth's of Vitamin D.
As for the science, we just finished our packer tests and we've moved on to CORKing. (Packers are inflatable or swellable discs that we place at certain depths in the borehole to prevent cross-communication between the different zones of interest. For instance, we have identified via cores and logging data that there are two permeable zones. We want to put experiments in those two zones without fluid flowing from one zone to the other. So, we use packers!) The TransOcean crew and the CORK specialists have been hard at work putting together the CORKs on the drill floor. (A more descriptive entry about the CORKs coming soon!) Because of tensed wires and heavy machinery, only the experts and the occasional videographer are allowed on the drill floor. The rest of us watch from Drill Rig TV. In the meantime, we are enjoying the wonderful weather and warding off the 6th week blues.
Tomorrow brings a BBQ on the deck, a fire drill, a group photo on the bow and a kite flying contest! All working around the science to-dos, of course! :)