Hello! We have returned to Wellington, New Zealand to board the R/V Kaharoa for our third oceanographic research cruise (of four). It's winter in Wellington and a "Southerly" storm blew through last night. It rained long and hard, and the wind was fierce and cold, but today is gorgeous. The skies are clear, and the strong sunshine is helping to warm the chill in the air. Scientists from the University of Washington (Andrea, Rip and Dan), the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (Julia Moriarity) and East Carolina University (J.P., Reide and Joey) are joining Alan Orpin of New Zealand's National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research aboard the Kaharoa to recover instruments on the seafloor and take water and seabed samples. Our team of scientists is excited to be back aboard the Kaharoa as the Captain and crew were great to work with on our last voyage. Everyone quickly gets reacquainted with firm hand shakes and warms smiles and then back to work getting ready for our next adventure. Today has been spent loading gear and provisions, testing equipment and discussing plans and issues. We are happy to know the ship was just in yard and lots of maintenance, repairs and improvements were made. Of course, "improvements" some times need to be tested, so we'll see how that goes. Fortunately, the crew is very helpful and understanding of our needs, so we are confident they will help us anyway they can.
We have worked quickly and now have equipment lashed down or stowed, so it's time to head off into Cook Strait (the channel between the North and South islands which is notorious for unpleasant conditions). Although it is clearly a beautiful day in Wellington (as you can see from the yacht race pics above), it likely won't be so pleasant on the open ocean. Unfortunately, because of the recent weather, the first part of the our journey looks to be bumpy!
We'll keep you posted. G'day, J.P.