The unique challenges of living at sea for 63 days

How do you prepare enough food? And what if something breaks? To find out, Vivien Cumming and Cristiane Delfina boarded a scientific drilling vessel that doesn’t dock at port for two months.

When a ship is out in the open ocean, it has to function like a self-contained world. From food to sewage, everything is possible on a totally self-sufficient boat.

The crew of the scientific vessel JOIDES Resolution regularly spend two months at sea without replenishing supplies. While there, they drill deep ocean cores from the seabed to study ancient climate change within the high-tech labs on board.

The ship was named after HMS Resolution, Captain Cook’s boat, which sailed the seas looking for new continents nearly 250 years ago. Back then sailors like Cook had whole farmyards on board in order to have fresh meat through the trip. Today the crew has a huge freezer and $140,000 (£105,000) of food – enough to feed 125 people for 63 days.

To find out what it takes to live at sea for so long, we spent two months accompanying the crew, from the chef making sure that food stays fresh to the mechanic who claims he can fix anything (“apart from broken hearts”).

+ You can view a map here to see where the ship is right now.

Special thank you to all the staff and crew onboard the JOIDES Resolution for the IODP and ECORD Expedition 369 for their assistance and cooperation. 

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