"We officially passed our halfway mark this week, meaning we have completed over half of our stations, and we are now closer to Africa than we are to Australia. The days certainly start to blend together when you are repeating the same work tasks during the same time frame with the same people every single day, but I am still finding a lot of joy in the comforts of routine. Every meal is so delicious, and I tell the chef exactly that every day. I feel myself getting stronger in the gym and I share my weightlifting progress with some of the crew members every day. I have also been reading a lot of books and having chats with people about what we are each reading every day. All of these factors help my body and brain to feel very nourished out here in the middle of the Indian ocean. With every station that I sample and analyze, I feel a great deal of satisfaction in my work life too. I have become very confident in my ability to collect water samples in our specialized syringes (Figure 1) and analyze them using gas chromatography. In fact, I feel like I could spend another two months out here!
To shake up the monotony of day-to-day life onboard, we held a ship-wide ping-pong tournament. Unfortunately, I lost my first match of the tournament. Then even more unfortunately, I lost my first match in the loser’s bracket too. I had loads of fun regardless of the outcome and loved keeping up with the winners of both brackets. Some other exciting things that have happened recently include: learning how to play the classic sailors’ game of cribbage (and winning every once in a while), sailing through several more storms, decorating an Argo float (Figure 2), and sending Styrofoam cups down to 5000 meters depth to become shrunken under the pressure. Here's to another month left in the Indian Ocean!"