The sampling part of science officially ends today. That’s it – that’s our last dip over the side, the last sample we take. We’re done.

Sort of.

Certain experiments are still running – Vince and Ryan are still sampling some surface water – and data is still being logged and re-checked. We’re also conducting a survey just before we get back to Perth – that’s the survey that will require someone on whale-watch at all times.

Even when we’re not looking over our scientific haul, we’re packing it up to be off-loaded when we arrive in port. Everything has to be properly packaged, stored, labeled, and placed so we can get it where it needs to go. Some of it will be shipped to Rutgers, some will be shipped to OSU, still more will go to the University of Washington.

The rest of it has to be returned to the coring techs or packed up in one of the vans (steel shipping containers). The archived and described cores are in a refrigerated one, which has a little extra space for some other cold experiments. The MST van, though, needs to be thoroughly cleaned and emptied.

A handful of equipment along with all those samples, has to go back with those that brought it – to UC Bakersfield with Chandranath, to the University of Tasmania with Zanna, to Arizona State with Hilairy. Sarah has to figure out a way to take frozen samples with her as carry-on.

Of course, there’s also a little time to relax. The ping pong tournament will begin sometime in the next few days – details are a little scarce, but opening ceremonies should begin tomorrow or the next day. After all, we’ve still got five more days at sea.