DrGw390 – touring around Cape Town

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June 21, 2022 by Dr. G

(*If you missed my first post on my JOIDES Resolution adventure, I encourage you to start with DrGw390 – Week of quarantine. All posts will be tagged with #DrGw390.)

Myself and the entire science party have now departed the ship. Many of us have a few extra days in Cape Town before heading back to our homes, so we made the most of the sites in and around the area!


Our first stop during our first full day back on land was a trip to the feature we had seen from the ship and the water – Table Mountain!

After a morning on the mountain top (which we learned is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World), we went back to exploring the ocean at Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium – such fun to go through an aquarium with other fans of the ocean!

The next day we decided to sign up for a tour to take us to some sites that were too far away for an Uber. First stop – penguins!

Next stop – Cape Point, with a trek down to Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern most point on the African continent.

Our mood shifted significantly on this day, visiting Robben Island. This was easily the most powerful site/moment of my entire 2+ months away from home.

It turns out we couldn’t stay away from the rocks! A few of us jumped north to Sea Point Contact, a significant geological site.

One of the scientists was joined by her mother in Cape Town – who happened to be a quilter. We spent one morning fabric shopping, and I can’t wait to make something from these incredible textiles (and the others I bought – fortunately, I had room in my luggage for them!).

I had an afternoon alone in Cape Town and visited the science museum. Interesting displays and helpful for me to see the specimens selected and focus of the descriptions.

My last day in Cape Town before heading to the airport! I took a walk to see the ship that recently found Shackleton’s Endurance (wish I could have gotten closer or seen on board – maybe another time!).

It was ~16 hours of flying nonstop from Cape Town to Newark, NJ. My incredible husband picked me up at 5AM and drove me back home. I pretty much slept much of the first day, but I did get outside to see some wonderful greetings on the front sidewalk!

I had about 2.5 days home, then I headed to Washington DC for a meeting on scientific ocean drilling. Before I hopped on Amtrak, I did a surprise visit to Media Elementary School to see in-person all the kids I had Zoomed with from the ship! It was a wonderful day and a wonderful way to mark the end of Expedition 390 – or is it the end?

Although my time has finished on the ship, I look forward to continuing to share the stories of my expedition, sharing educational resources with teachers, and seeing what comes next! The scientists will be working on these samples for several years, and I have much I want to write up about models for engaging with ship-to-shore connections, classroom use of data, etc. In some ways, I feel my journey has just begun, finishing the chapter at sea, and now starting my chapter on land!

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