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Tips for a happy co-existence


Kia ora! I’m Claire, the Science Outreach Projects Coordinator at Otago Museum. For the next month I will be working as the onboard outreach officer on the ship the JOIDES Resolution, for Expedition 378: South Pacific Paleogene Climate. I’ll be blogging about my adventures here, but you can also follow the ships social media accounts on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


Blog Post Three- Tips for a happy co-existence

It was a moment of much excitement when we pushed off from the dock at Port Lautoka in Fiji. The co-chief scientists began conceiving this expedition over 16 years ago, and it has had numerous setbacks. But finally, we were off. It was a beautiful calm, sunny morning and lots of people came up top to watch us sail past different golden sand rimmed Fijian islands.

Thus, begins a month on-board a ship. The ship works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that there is two of most roles, with people working on opposite 12-hour shifts. Two people share a cabin, one on noon to midnight shift, the other on the midnight to noon shift. Meals (delicious meals!) are served four times a day, at both the 5-7s and both the 11-1s (ie am and pm). Bickie breaks happen at 3am and pm, and 9am and pm.

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Image: The mess hall – note the port hole window, a reminder that you are ON A SHIP! By Claire Concannon © Otago Museum. 

In total there are 118 of us, including science team, lab officers, technician team, ship crew, drilling team, and the galley and cleaning team. There are 30 of us in the science team, which is my team, from a wide variety of countries. These first few days we have been spending lots of time in the conference room, listening to presentations as we get inducted into the science, safety, and systems on the JOIDES Resolution. 

One of the first presentations we got was about life at sea, and included some golden rules for everybody getting along: shower every day (the showers are pretty darn good, so no complaints there!), don’t be messy in the cabin you share, no cologne or strong perfume (impress people with your science, not your scent!), and importantly, BE QUIET IN THE QUARTER AREAS!! Because people work opposing shifts there are always people asleep in the cabins. Unfortunately I’ve discovered that my shoes squeak horribly on the surface of the corridors, so now I have to tiptoe everywhere when I’m in the quarters area…

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Image: Going up and down stairs like these is my life now. By Claire Concannon © Otago Museum. 

When I first got onboard the ship felt like an impossible warren of corridors and stairs, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now. I’m on the Upper ‘Tween Deck in cabin 4U-5, which I’m sharing with Lindy, the American representative outreach officer who works in a science centre in Ohio. The cabins are small, but everything you need is in there. The ship also has a gym, a lounge for watching movies or playing games, and there is even karaoke in the crew lounge! The general layout is: quarters at the front, then a passageway to all the interesting things at different levels: gym, lounge, mess hall, conference room, science labs, and then beyond them, the derrick and rig floor. I haven’t made it past the rig floor yet as they have been doing work, but I will investigate further when I can! 

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Image: The gym - running on a treadmill on a rocking ship is difficult…By Claire Concannon © Otago Museum. 

For the science team life on board the JOIDES Resolution is set up so that all we have to think about is science. It is like a big floating science camp for grown-ups. We have name badges, have been told to label our stuff, we have our own assigned shelves and spaces, we don’t have to think about cooking or cleaning or tidying or washing up or laundry or any other ‘life admin’ jobs that shore life involves.

This means that 12 hours a day can be dedicated to pure, unadulterated science (or in my case science communication). Nerd nirvana.



Top Image: So long Fiji! The science team members wave goodbye as we push off dock. By Claire Concannon © Otago Museum.