Participant information

Life on board RV Investigator is a unique experience: exciting and busy – and sometimes challenging. Find out what to expect on board a voyage and how to prepare.

What's life like on board RV Investigator?

Smoking, snow-covered volcanoes, soaked scientists and sticky black mud. Follow the volcanic voyage of researchers on board RV Investigator as they visit Australia’s Heard Island and McDonald Islands in early 2016. Two action-packed months at sea in three minutes of video, one second at a time!

[Music plays and text appears:  Marine National Facility]

[Images flash through of the Investigator at dock, a female carrying a box, two people lifting equipment and text appears: RV Investigator Voyage to Heard Island & McDonald Islands]

[Images flash through of the Investigator being loaded]

[Image changes to show a male pointing at a map on the wall and then the image changes to show a male working on the deck of the Investigator and then the camera zooms in on another male’s face]

[Images flash through of a crane winching up a ramp, people walking along the side of the Investigator, a rope floating in the water and a female standing on the ship and looking at the harbour]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO sign on the side of the ship]

[Image changes to show people listening to a male talking inside the ship and then the camera zooms in on the male’s face]

[Images flash through of employees deploying a piece of marine scientific equipment and then the image changes to show the equipment plunging beneath the surface of the water]

[Images flash through of a female laughing, a male walking along the deck, two males with a piece of marine science equipment and then the image changes to show the equipment being deployed beneath the water]

[Image changes to show a view from the cabin of the ship as it moves through the water]

[Image changes to show a male carrying a box and then the image shows the box being deployed into the water and being towed behind the ship]

[Images flash through of a piece of marine science equipment labelled “Nemo” and then a multi corer being deployed]

[Image changes to show a female calling out to others on the deck of the ship]

[Image changes to show people in the Operations Room of the ship and then the camera zooms in on the computer screens they are looking at and then the camera zooms in on three scientists looking at a computer screen]

[Image changes to show people on the deck of the ship deploying a piece of marine science equipment and then the camera zooms in on the equipment as it plunges beneath the surface of the water]

[Images flash through of a male looking through a telescope, an albatross soaring through the air, the Investigator cutting through the water, a multicorer being deployed and the multicorer as it travels underwater]

[Image changes to show two males in an equipment room, a male looking over the stern of the ship, an upward view of a winch winching up the multicorer, three males operating the winch on deck and a piece of marine science equipment being deployed]

[Images flash through of two males at a computer screen, the computer screen display, a room of people looking at computers and then the camera zooms in on some of their faces]

[Images flash through of a woman knitting, a map, a piece of marine science equipment being deployed and males walking along the deck]

[Image changes to show a male displaying a rock and then the camera zooms in on rocks in the bucket he is holding]

Male 1: [inaudible 01:18]

[Image changes to show another male talking to the camera]

Male 2: We’d better move on.

[Images flash through of a view from the bow of the ship of islands and a male looking through the bridge window]

Male 3: Land Ho.

[Image changes to show a view of the islands and then images flash through of a male taking a photo, a group of people at the bridge window and then a view from the outside of the bridge looking in at the people]

[Image changes to show a view of the island and then images flash through of computer screen readings]

[Image changes to show the islands through the bridge window and then the image changes to show a rotating computer screen display]

>[Image changes to show the island and then images flash through of the Investigator heading towards the island, a male in the engine room, the deck of the Investigator and a male looking through a telescope]

[Image changes to show a male in the bridge talking to the camera and then images flash through of the ocean and the islands]

[Image changes to show a female talking and then images flash through of pieces of marine science equipment being deployed and hauled back up on to the ship]

Female: Oh, the plume.

[Images flash through of a gull, a hand, a multi corer being hauled onto the deck, a person on deck drawing the islands, people hauling in a piece of marine science equipment and a male operating the winch]

[Image changes to show the piece of marine science equipment plunging beneath the water, a hand turning over a piece of coral, a male talking to the camera and a map]

Male 2: Troglodytes.

[Images flash through of the ocean, the snow covered island, a volcano and people looking at the volcano from the deck of the ship]

[Images flash through of the island]

[Images flash through of people looking at the computer screen display]

[Images flash through of people in the laboratory and a male talking to the camera]

Male 5: Submarine volcanoes.

[Images flash through of a male looking out of a roller door, specimens in a blue tub, a map displayed on a computer screen, computer screen displays rotating in an anticlockwise direction and a map of Australia and the islands]

[Image changes to show scientists at work on the ship, a male working on the deck, a female waving from the deck, a rainbow and a snow covered volcano]

[Image changes to show a sample from the ocean floor being dropped on the deck]

[Images flash through of a female carrying a blue tub, a multi corer being deployed, a female laughing and a gull flying through the air]

[Image changes to show the side of the Investigator and then the image changes to show spray over the bow of the ship and then the camera zooms up on to the deck of the ship]

[Image changes to show a female and male inside the dining room, a male looking out the window and a male walking in the engine room]

[Image changes to show samples being dropped into a white plastic bucket, a female looking up, a group of scientists looking into a white bucket and then the camera zooms in on the sample in the bucket and then the camera zooms in on one of the scientists]

Male 6: Sifting black mud.

[Images flash through of two people lifting canisters, a piece of marine science equipment being deployed, a female cleaning a CSIRO canister with high pressure cleaner, a net being winched aboard and  a male giving the thumbs up signal]

[Image changes to show the seascape and then images flash through of a multicorer being deployed, people in the bridge, a male working in the ship, a female laughing, a multi corer being lowered beneath the water and dolphins at play]

[Marine National Facility and CSIRO logos and text appears: Marine National Facility, Supporting, enabling and inspiring marine science, owned and operated by CSIRO on behalf of Australia]

Shift work

Science doesn’t sleep, but good scientists do

Investigator operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, commonly with participants on two alternating 12-hour shifts. You can expect to be assigned to a shift prior to a voyage by a Chief Scientist or Voyage Manager.

Cabins are mostly twin share so you will likely be sharing a cabin with someone. Don’t be surprised if you rarely see them though – cabin mates are often on an alternating shifts – meaning only one person will be in the cabin at a time.

Social media

Staying connected

From whale sightings to sharing an amazing sunset – we understand that you’ll want to stay in touch with your family and friends throughout the voyage.

Satellite bandwidth is limited and expensive from the vessel, and while you can access email and social media on board, you cannot send or receive large files (more on that in our ICT Network Usage policy). The MNF has a fair use policy for social media, and it’s also important to think before posting – release of some information can impact on the voyage scientific and communication objectives.

We encourage you to let your family and friends know what to expect before you step on board so that they will have a realistic understanding about your communications.

Sea sickness

Don't panic!

Whether you’re new to sailing or a seasoned traveller, sea sickness can be an unavoidable part of life at sea – even for the crew! Most people take two or three days to adjust to the motion of the ship, so we recommend bringing an adequate supply of sea sickness tablets with you (plus other remedies) to get you through the voyage, just in case you have any issues.

If you are having a tough time with sea sickness during the voyage, there are plenty of people on board who are ready to help.

Interpersonal dynamics

Take the pressure down

Everyone on board a voyage wants to enjoy the experience – and voyages often result in unforgettable memories and lasting friendships.

Life on board a ship does require some adjustment though.

Days can be busy, space is limited and you’re working closely with a bunch of new people. Be kind to yourself and others, and allow yourself some time to adjust to ship life – with a positive attitude, challenging situations can be alleviated to the benefit of all on board.

Remember, you’re all in the same boat. Literally! Respect and empathy for your fellow participants will go a long way.

Health and safety

Putting people first

Safety is our number one priority and is the responsibility of everyone on board. We aim to ensure each voyage is safe and successful for all. Even before you step on board, you will have started a program of health, safety and well-being inductions, including managing mental health and wellbeing.

These will continue when you step on board the vessel. It’s important that throughout the voyage, you stay aware of your surroundings and potential hazards. Ensure that you and your fellow participants always follow safe work practices. Seek guidance and advice if you have any concerns or issues.

Just like sea sickness, fatigue can be a factor on a busy voyage – especially with shift work – so once you’re on board, we’ll be helping you keep an eye on your fatigue and manage it accordingly.