The Submarine Ring of Fire 2021 NE Lau Basin exploration team departed Suva, Fiji at 0400 GMT for their first target, Vai Lili, to explore bacterial mats and collect water samples from hydrothermal vent sites at Vai Lili, a vent field located on the central Valu Fa Ridge in the Lau Basin. There, they will collect samples of Mn- and Fe-encrusted microbial mats from the vicinity of diffuse flowing hydrothermal vents in the southern most region of the exploration study area. The day before departure, students from the University of the South Pacific joined members from the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Ambassador for a tour of the R/V Roger Revelle and conversations with the scientists on board. They also got a first-hand glimpse of the Quest 4000, a remotely operated vehicle owned by the University of Bremen in Germany that will be used to explore the most volcanically-active area of the planet.