Location: 41.52247˚S, 174.772597˚E
Sea state: Calm
The day started early with a 6:30am breakfast, arriving in to Wellington Harbour at 8am – a beautiful day coming in to the harbour!
RV Tangaroa looks very small compared to the large cruise ships (that’s Tangaroa on the left hand side, compared with the Queen Mary 2) that are docked on either side of us. It will be a long day of unloading and transporting our gear off the ship and back to the office and stores, or into containers to be shipped to Australia and France.
We are still disappointed about not achieving the main aim of the voyage, which was to recover the oceanographic moorings in the Mertz Polynya (see blog post 20: What is a polynya?). But we have collected a lot of other data in order to answer other questions about the Wilkes/Adélie Land region of Antarctica.
Along with help from colleagues and students, this data will take several months (or years) of hard work in the laboratories and offices to analyse and write up as scientific papers. So this voyage is only the start of a long road ahead.
There are a lot of acknowledgments and thanks required after a long voyage.
Thanks to the agencies in New Zealand, Australia and France that funded the voyage and made it possible.
Thanks to everybody who has been on board for making the voyage as enjoyable as possible, with good humour. This has made it a truly team effort. We would like to especially thank the captain, Evan Solly, and the crew of the RV Tangaroa that have fed and looked after us and helped to achieve the science by deploying our gear, often in unpleasant conditions. They have kept us safe and the doctor has fortunately had very little to do. We have all come home with all our fingers and toes intact.
Thanks to Mike Williams, the leader who has done a great job of organising, communicating and keeping the scientific team on track through the many decisions and changes during the voyage.
Thanks to all the family and friends who have sent regular emails to keep us updated with what has been going on in the world and not feeling quite so isolated out here. I cannot imagine how Mawson and his crew coped 100 years ago with no communication to the rest of the world (see blog post 24: The discovery of the Mertz Region).
Finally, I would like to thank all of you who have been reading the blog posts over the last few weeks and sent in questions. I would also like to thank all the writers and photographers who have contributed to the blogs and helped to provide different perspectives on the science and life on board during the voyage. Most were very willing, while others offered without even being asked! I have certainly learnt a lot by writing and editing the blogs.