I arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on 3 January 2010 . It was a very windy day. The little aircraft that took me from Aukland (on the South Island of New Zealand) to Wellington (on the North Island) was experiencing quite a few turbulences, but the pilot did a great job and landed the aircraft very smoothly. Right at the airport I run into one of our two co-chief scientists of the expedition, Carlota Escutia (U Granada, Spain) and one of our logging scientists, Trevor Williams (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA).
The ship, the JOIDES resolution (see picture), arrived in port on 4 January, which gave me some time to explore Wellington– a lovely town with a very friendly feeling to it. It is small enough that one can walk around easily and climb the numerous hills that offer a stellar view of the city (see picture). It was a sunny day on 4 January, and after a few hours of walking and shopping I had to turn back to the hotel with a big sunburn – the ozon hole makes the sun down here too powerful for my light skin!
On 5 January a bus picked up the majority of the ~30 members of the scientific party to bring us from our hotel to the ship. It is always a fun moment to move on the ship. I am sharing a cabin with Saiko Sugisaki, a Japanese scientist, whose is sailing as a paleomagnetist. The measurements she and her American colleague Lisa Tauxe will make on the ship will be very important in helping us to determine the age of the sediments we are going to drill. Overall the scientists are from a large number of countries. Countries participating in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) have a quota of people they can send on expeditions. This quota is worked out dependent on the financial contributions to the programme. The interesting bit is however that only about half of the scientists on board of our expedition sail for the country they are coming from. For example, I am German and sail as a UK participant. My colleage doing inorganic geochemistry on the ship, Francisco J. Jimenez-Espejo, is Spanish and sails for Japan.
Today, 6 January, is our first day of work on the ship. We have all day meetings to get introduced to the ship, the labs, the IT system, safty, etc. We we are still on schedule to leave port on 9 January.