By Kelsey Archer Barnhill
The participants for Leg 1 have now boarded the Sarmiento de Gamboa!
This morning we welcomed the new science team on board the ship in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. I was quite envious to see their luggage lifted up to the ship via crane. I certainly could have used that when I lugged my 30 kilo suitcase onto the vessel in Vigo!
It was great to see everyone in person and meet our new colleagues. There were also some on board reunions as one of my PhD supervisors Murray Roberts and my friend and fellow PhD student Daniëlle De Jonge joined the expedition. Bea and I helped show people to their rooms and pointed them in the right direction. It definitely took us a few days, but we now know the ship very well!
As the back deck can be very noisy as we sail, I took advantage of the relative quiet on board and recorded some video explainers about the equipment on board. Shortly there will be videos available explaining the Autosub6000 – featuring NOC’s AUV Operation Team’s Engineering Manager Daniel Roper – and the three types of benthic landers – featuring iAtlantic Fellow and Heriot-Watt University PhD student Daniëlle De Jonge.
Bea, the ROV pilots and I had the morning to ourselves as the new participants gathered in the dining room to watch the safety briefing video. After the briefing, they also got the chance to don the immersion suits and life vests. It wasn’t too long after the lights on everyone’s life vests had been checked that we prepared to set sail. Everyone takes the final moments before entering the high seas to take advantage of cell service for the last time and calls their friends or family. I took the time to call my parents back home in San Diego, who were happy to hear from me despite it being before 7:00 AM their time! There is a phone on the ship that we are able to use to call internationally, but as this is a shared phone for everyone on board it is used in moderation. I’ve only used it once with little success, but this was likely because I tried to receive a call from my partner who is on board a ship off Australia! Clear ship to ship calling from halfway across the world seems to still be beyond current technological capabilities! Our IT technician Rodger had good news for us though, as our internet capabilities have been improved for this leg of the cruise. Hopefully that will make it a bit easier for me to get these blog posts sent out!
Around 15:00 we had a pilot board the ship to get us out of the port and left Las Palmas behind quite quickly as we travelled at 8 knots. It was exciting to see the pilot make the transfer from our ship to a smaller vessel once his job on the Sarmiento de Gamboa was completed. After enjoying the view as we set sail, everyone got to work organising the lab and assembling their equipment. Now people are settling into their rooms and working on getting their sea legs. With the ROV, Autosub6000, and three different landers on deck alone, without even mentioning the multi-corer and conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) instrument, there won’t be a dull moment on board!