November 3: On Overconfidence and High Spirits
Well, we became quite confident in what we were doing. Cores came on deck every day and we were making such fast progress that I was already thinking about alternate sites. Great team spirit on deck reduced the time of core handling, and the station map was rapidly filled up with core locations. Too much confidence though, makes you forget where you are.
The Svalbard continental margin is unpredictable and even with the best possible visualisation technology used on the sediments below the seafloor, one cannot exclude a sediment layer with stiff clay or dropstones released from melting icebergs. We lost a few hours due to another bended core, but still saved 12 m of core material. Now we will drop the very long (~25 m) piston corer for the remaining days at sea and will start building up our confidence again with the shorter (17 m) one.
Perhaps, you readers will get a bad impression about the success of this cruise when you read my diary. It reminds me of summer holidays on the French Atlantic coast. You hardly remember the numerous sunny days at the beach, but tell your mates at home about the massive flood which almost destroyed your tent. Same here! I am pretty sure that the 200 m and more core material we have collected during the past 2 weeks will eventually provide some exciting breakthrough knowledge. But the first thing I will tell my mates when I come home is how things were delayed due to some bloody bended cores.