It Begins in quarantine

JOIDES Resolution's Expedition 390 was originally scheduled to head out and begin collecting core along the South Atlantic Transect in 2020. The pandemic caused many complications and ultimately delayed EXP 390 until April 2022. Once the scientists, technicians and crew arrived in the ship's departure port of Cape Town, South Africa, they began a week-long quarantine. For one week, everyone had different views and heard similar noises from the outside. From looking across the hotel courtyard to seeing the ocean or Table Mountain, those in quarantine experienced a week of Uber Eats delivery, Zoom meetings and social hours, and hearing the Noon Gun go off. Only after one week and two negative PCR COVID-19 tests were the EXP 390 participants allowed to board the ship to being the scientific mission.

Quilt measures 39 inches tall by 39 inches wide and was completed on July 5, 2023. 

Hanging quilt that looks like a window view, with curtains attached

Quilt showing a hotel window view during quarantine before joining JOIDES Resolution

hotel room

My room in The Commodore Hotel (Cape Town, South Africa) where I stayed for a week before boarding JOIDES Resolution

Close-up of window panes representing Zoom meetings and the Noon Gun

Fabric representing the co-chief scientists of Expedition 390,w ith 3 Cats Shweshwe fabic in the middle

Full quilt description (click to read)

Expedition 390 was originally scheduled to sail October-December 2020. But we know what happened in 2020… My blog post Still waiting for my ships to sail… my journey back to the ocean details the communications of the changes that were made to the departure/arrival ports, who would sail and who would stay in a shore-based supporting role, and more. But there was a little bit of light that started to shine later in the year, from an IODP email I received on September 4, 2020:

“I write with positive news about Expeditions 390 & 393. The two expeditions have been rescheduled for 7 April – 7 June 2022 and 7 June – 7 August 2022.”

Yay! I was going to have the opportunity to sail as an Onboard Outreach Officer for Expedition 390, with a new set of preparations that needed to be addressed before sailing. COVID-19 was still going around. Fast-forward to March 2022, and my schedule now included COVID protocols I was required to follow. I needed to be in a reduced contact period at home for seven days, with a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure before I could fly out. On March 31 I left from Newark, NJ, to Munich, Germany, for a 9-hour layover, then flying to Cape Town, South Africa. Once I arrived in Cape Town, it was a direct shuttle from the airport to the hotel, where everyone joining the ship would be in hotel quarantine for another seven days. We weren’t allowed to leave our rooms – all food had to be delivered, and COVID tests were done door-to-door.

So what did we do in our hotel rooms for seven days? This quilt captures some of those activities and we viewed/heard out our hotel room windows.

The scientists, technicians and crew had either windows to look out or a door that would open up to a small balcony. Some of us had views where we could see the ocean, or for some of us the only water we could see was swimming pool in the hotel courtyard. We had Zoom meetings every day – most were work-focused, but we also had Zoom “happy hours” during breakfast and at the end of the day to get to know each other. Food was a popular topic of conversation, sharing where we found some excellent meals through Uber Eats. We heard the Noon Gun on Signal Hill (and were very confused the first couple of times we heard it go off). And some of us had a view of Table Mountain and made a vow when we return at the end of the expedition to explore this National Park which is also one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The top and bottom border fabrics are a nod to the co-chief scientists for Expedition 390. Roz Coggon designs and sells her own fabric, including the one featured on the quilt. Jason Sylvan was determined to improve his yo-yo skills while at sea, as yo-yoing is an activity he shares with his son.

After a week in quarantine, we joined the ship and continued to maintain a distance from each other and wear masks for another twelve days. COVID tests started daily, then shifted to every other day – and finally, we were able to remove our masks. We were safely at sea with COVID behind us!

The curtain and wall fabric were purchased from The Quilter’s Cottage (Eureka Springs, AR) and match the colors of the hotel room curtains and wall color. The window panels were purchased on The 3 Cats Shweshwe fabric, a Da Gama Textile manufactured in South Africa, is the pink design between the top and bottom banners of fabric. Quilt measures 39 inches tall by 39 inches wide and was completed on July 5, 2023.