Preparing for a cruise takes almost as much time as the cruise itself. Research ships are scheduled 1-2 years before the actual cruise. The Chief Scientist, Barney, works with the ship operations crew at Scripps to refine the cruise schedule, arrange for ship services, define the lab space, and organize the scientific party. Each scientist has a pile of medical and personnel forms to complete several months before the ship sails. Each science party needs to identify every piece of equipment that they will need at sea. Instruments are carefully packed up in shipping boxes and delivered to an air freight company for delivery to the ship. If you need a spare part, power plug, or replacement fuse it had better be in the box. Duct tape and shoe goo will only fix so much – although I packed these items too. Chemical reagents are sent to the ship in stages. Acids, bases, and reactive compounds are often loaded on the ship at a US port. Nonreactive reagents can be sent via FedEx to the port of sail. Temperature sensitive reagents must be carried in the checked luggage of the scientists. You can’t use a balance on the ship so all reagents need to be weighed before shipping. Lists of all experiments are prepared, reagent use estimated, and reagent packs prepared. If you runout of reagents your experiments are finished. If you forget the pipette tips you can’t prepare your solutions. Planning is key. What you leave behind stays behind.