Over 1/3 of the cruise track is now completed as we steam west towards station 15. Team mercury has analyzed over 1,000 samples up to this point! Gretchen and I reached the 1,000 sample mark late last night – we were a bit too tired for a proper celebration but commemorated the moment by blowing up some glove balloons for the lab.
At night when we work on the ship, bright lights illuminate the deck and water where our sampling equipment is being deployed. But when the ship is in transit, those lights are turned off to avoid interference with night vision on the bridge where the captain maneuvers the ship. This is the perfect time for star gazing. Through openings in the clouds we have been trying to locate Crux, more commonly known as the Southern Cross. A group of five stars, the Southern Cross lies in a cross shape with the longer end pointing south. It can be used for navigation in the southern hemisphere much like the North Star is used in the northern hemisphere. Two blue-footed boobies taking a break on the ship.