In 2008, after returning from 6 weeks scuba diving off Santa Catalina Island, I participated in my first oceanographic cruise aboard the RV Tangaroa with my honours supervisor Dr Michael Ellwood. The NIWA vessel took around 30 scientists out onto the Chatham Rise off the east coast of New Zealand, as part of Fe Cycle II. ‘We’ were tracking the evolution and fate of a phytoplankton bloom in terms of its iron biogeochemistry. Studying trace metals aboard a ship made entirely of that trace metal is challenging to say the least. However with a little perserverance and a lot of plastic bags the voyage was a success…and as with every good voyage, a few friends were made along the way.