Follow Dr. Katrina Edwards, as she explores the microbial life at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean

After days of science meetings (like, A LOT) and preparations in the lab, we are nearly there now! We’ll be on site and beginning operations in 4 hrs -- lowering the drill pipe down 4.5 km below the ocean surface! So things will really start to get exciting tomorrow afternoon I’d expect.

The anticipation of actually getting there is killing me!

Our next operation at this site, Hole 395A, will be to begin to recover some instruments that were put in the hole on a string in 1997/1998. One of our most experienced participants out here – no wait, the most experienced sailing scientist – installed this string, and is here again to retrieve it and to put new ones down with our observatories. After we take that up, we remove the CORK itself. This is the part that has my stomach in knots. There is no guarantee that it will come loose properly. Well, there’s no guarantee of anything out here, but this operation is particularly tenuous to me.

After that *successful* operation, we move onto CORK installation! This has me a little nervous too, as some of the components we’re installing have never been installed in these kinds of holes. Like fiberglass casing that we’re using because the normal casing material, steel, is quite a tasty treat for some microbes and we do not wish to disturb the system. We want to study the intraterrestrials in their native state.

Over the next few days I’ll be writing about the how operations are going and fill you in a bit more on some of the instruments and experiments that are going down the holes. Until then, keep your fingers crossed for us!