Week 2: Confessions of a Newbie Drill Coordinator by Dr Jez Everest

Will and the drill

14 April 2016

Every night a little more busy. Every morning a little more knackered.

Anyway, how are we doing? Weeeell…. It was all going beautifully. The drill was doing its thing, and everything was running along like a canoe on wet grass, and then boom, we hit a bit of a snag at 70m. There’s a hole, or some cracks in the rock, or some mud-eating ‘Tremors-style’ worm that is sucking all the drilling mud away. All stop, big conflab, then a decision to fill the hole in the hope that whatever it is will be sealed up, and then we can drill again, and carry on our merry way. It’s worked before, so….

In the meantime, and I digress because too much drill chat makes Jez a dull boy, so far I’ve seen sharks, birds, a sunspot, lots of fish, and a turtle. A big one. Though no one else saw it, and I didn’t have my camera, so I’m not sure if anyone else believes me. Tough. I saw it. It was there.

A moth the size of a child's hand
What else? The food is great. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many prawns (shrimp… hah! They’re big boys!), Tim occasionally springs barbequed ribs or steak on us, but so far he’s made sure that it’s on my shift, not Graham’s, so he’s feeling really miffed. Though my earlier comments stand - everything has sugar in it. Three dinners a day seemed overly indulgent (lunch, tea and off-shift at midnight), so I’m restricting myself to as much salad as I can find at lunchtime, a proper tea, and a glass of milk at midnight. The lack of alcohol may be doing me good, though the giant spiders and talking frogs keep telling me it’s not, and a glass of Rioja would sort me out.

The drill floor
Anyway. Drilling. The 24 hour cure seemed to work. We started drilling again 2 days ago (or was it just one? I can’t work it out) and last night at 10pm we hit our target depth for open hole drilling of 500m. Pretty rapid progress, all things considered. Now the scientists have arrived this morning by boat, and the more complicated work of drilling for cores begins.

Looks like I need to learn everything again. Just when I was getting used to it.