|Some of our drilling supplies. Photo: T. DeCarlo|
The most difficult part of preparation is realizing all the items we need to get us, our gear, and our samples home. Of course, the packing list starts with the obvious items for our work: underwater drill, check. SCUBA gear, check. Cement plugs and epoxy to patch up the coral colonies that we drill, check. GPS, check. Camera, check. Ok, our purpose is to collect coral skeleton cores, and we have everything we need to do that. That's the natural thought process.
But, oh how awful it would be to collect our beautiful skeleton cores, place them carefully into a box, and realize we have no way to seal the box. Packing tape, check.