We steamed along the south coast overnight, and at breakfast this morning we passed Lulworth Cove and then Swanage. There’s just one last bit of science left to do. We are crawling slowly into Poole Bay and Christchurch Bay, taking surface samples of seawater. Clare Davis, from the University of Liverpool, is processing these water samples for a couple of the Liverpool University PhD students. The students are researching the dispersion of organic matter from estuaries out into the ocean, and also looking at the relative supplies of nutrients from rivers and from the deep ocean to the shelf seas. These samples are also tying our work into another research project focussed on land catchments and river nutrients. Anouska Panton, a researcher working at the University of Southampton, will be carrying out fieldwork in Christchurch harbour today so that later we can link the data together with what we are collecting to get a broader picture of river-supplied nutrients and their fate in the autumnal shelf sea.
One important job we managed to clear yesterday was the cruise photo. We picked the right time for it, sat 20 miles off Plymouth with nice, sunny weather. Today wouldn’t have been as good – it’s windy and grey outside. But at least we can now see land, for the first time in three and a half weeks.