Sometimes you’re just too tired to take full advantage of a little R&R.

We didn’t really have enough gingerbread to make two R/V Thompson’s, so the two watches combined their focus to make one complex, beautiful ship. It’s not for us to eat – the Thompson sails for Durban, South Africa just before Christmas. The gingerbread house – er, ship – is part of the Christmas decorations we’re preparing for the crew.

Also included are gingerbread dioramas of the main lab, computer lab, and coring shed. A few strings of Christmas lights have been strung in the labs for the festive spirit, and I’m sure the galley staff is putting orders in for Christmas dinner.

Oh, and the Ping Pong Champion of the Southeast Indian Ocean is…Harris! He barely beat Vince 11 to 9.

The Great Whale Watch has begun in conjunction with the Great Multi-Beam Watch. The multi-beam data of a particular canyon is what we’re here to get, of course – the whales are a sort of bonus, but more importantly they’re also our key to stop. We’re in a marine preserve, and we can’t use the multi-beam if there are whales in the vicinity because the sonar might bother them. So far we haven’t seen any, but there were a few dolphins that delayed us for a while. Science continues on apace.

We’re a day out from port – less than 24 hours from now, we’ll pull into Freemantle in the early morning. Most of the science packing is done, so the procrastinated personal packing begins in earnest. I’ll have to figure out where my souvenirs – the styrofoam cups and whatnot – will be traveling before I start loading up my suitcase.