It’s go time baby!

Water perspective by Sebastian Cantarero:

After weeks of preparing, scheming, and building of suspense the day finally arrived! A group of highly trained secret agent scientists waited in the wee hours of the morning for word that Captain Jana and the sediment trap team was returning to dock, giving us the go ahead to start collecting our PRECIOUSSSSS (cue Gollum impression) water. The excitement of getting to participate in pulling up those first samples was palpable. This being my first mesocosm experiment, I had no idea what to expect and my mind was racing (well maybe more of a slow trot at the crack of dawn).

Boats C5 and Pischel with Allanah, Mirian, Leila, Sebastian and Sidney on board ready to start the sampling in the mesocosms in front of Isla San Lorenzo. Photo by Ulf Riebesell.

We loaded our three boats with the sampling equipment, notified our Communications Officer “Jabibi” of our embarkment, and sped off towards the mesocosms. I finally got to relish that magical feeling of being out on the water and breathing in this place we’ve dedicated so much of our lives trying to understand. I noticed some of our avian friends flying in formation around us and occasionally diving for fish as we made our way out of the port.As we pulled into our sampling area I could see 9 orange platforms against a desert island backdrop greeting us like a collection of strange floating gazebos. We were assigned to sample 20L each from 4 mesocosms and the surrounding Pacific waters.

The crew on Wassermann sampling dark mesocosm four and Rita in the background. Photo by: Ulf Riebesell.

We attached a line to our integrated depth samplers and two of our veteran mesocosm enthusiasts Leila and Sidney were kind enough to show me the ropes (pun absolutely intended). We spent a few hours collecting the precioussss and triumphantly returned to La Punta to share our bounty with the others. Our morning on the eerily silent water was a stark contrast in comparison to the busy bustling and excitement of dozens of scientific minds churning at the sight of their long-awaited answers. Not too shabby for day 1, looking forward to the rest of this adventure.

Leila, Sebastian and Sidney ready to sample. Photo by: Ulf Riebesell.

Land-perspective by Christian Christiansen:

After almost three weeks waiting “The Day” finally arrived! The boats were planned to arrive around noon meaning that for those of us which did not go in the boat, we had plenty of time to take an extra cup of coffee and relax a bit. However, around 09:45, a message came in: “Water samples from canisters on their way to the harbour. We will be there in 15 min. Some help at the pier will be appreciated”. TWO HOURS before planned. WHOA! As shot from a lightning, I jumped up and thought to myself “Finally! But, also what about my coffee…”. The coffee had to wait. I hurried down to the pier. People were gathering and we were waiting eagerly for the boats.

Picking up the first samples from the Pier. Photo by Christian Christiansen.

And there they came; The boats appearing around the corner and without even thinking or discussing people knew what to do. Like an oiled machine or a functioning beehive, we loaded the canisters onto the wagons and transported them to the cooler container. Not even five minutes after, the first group of people started filling up their bottles. Firstly, people doing flow cytometry and microscopy, secondly incubations, then the core biogeochemical parameters (Chlorophyll, POC/N, BSi..) and lastly people with less sensitive samples. Not a moment wasted and suddenly energy came to the Lab. People working, laughing and submerged in their work. After many weeks of preparation, you really do enjoy when everything goes smoothly. It is a privilege to work in a field where this kind of group-enthusiasm for samples is so overwhelming.