By Iris Clyne

Sep. 26, 1998. Ahoy from the Research Vessel Thompson! We're finally underway, off to the Puna Ridge - the submarine flank of Kilauea. It took 5 hours just to fuel up. In the meanwhile, scientists from around the world were securing and testing their equipment for the voyage. Everyone boarded yesterday in order to begin the adjustment of ship life. Now we're trying to get our sea legs. The 279 foot vessel has a nice even pitch to it underway. It's almost like walking on jello. Right now, the seas are fairly calm with about 10 knots of wind. Our speed is 12.5 knots. Our course has not completely been determined yet. We know we will stay to the lee of Lana'i and Kaho'olawe. But we will wait until we hit Kealaikahiki Point on Kaho'olawe before deciding whether to squeeze through the Alenuihaha Channel and past the windward side of Hawai'i or take the longer route past the leeward side and around South Point. The thing is, you can never trust that channel. It's only 79 miles across, but Alenuihaha ALWAYS has the last laugh.