January 14, 2007
Yesterday evening we were at site 10. Two of the coring tools had been successfully launched and recovered. The German lander was launched and would be recovered later (about 11 hours). Shortly after 10pm bad news began to circulate about the ship. The large piston core (designed to collect a deep sediment sample) showed unusually low tension on its cable as it began to come back up. Speculation was that the piston had failed to close and the sediment (and weight of it) drained out and lightened the load. When the core arrived back on the surface it was worse then that, the cable holding part of the coring tool had broken. The piston core itself had been lost! Bad news. Luckily we have a backup. This morning upon awakening I was advised that the backup piston core had been down successfully twice during the night and had collected sediment. It worked out that we had our samples but the news of the lost coring tool was disappointing. Apparently they are also quite expensive. The ocean today is not quite as rough as it was. The sky is cloud but bright. It is a good day to be in the southern part of the South Pacific. We have two more sites to survey before returning to New Zealand. The first mate today advised that he predicted rough seas coming up. How fast we move now from site to site and then New Zealand is really dependant on the weather. Batten down the hatches!