Very early into our expedition we have already made new experiences. Both the distinguished technicians and researchers as well as the newcomers on board lived three calm days with excellent service in the quarantine hotel. That was new. We shared an afternoon “East-Frisian tea ceremony”, evening drinks and brief preparation talks virtually while waiting eagerly to finally meet the entire team in person. That was new. All the time brilliantly supported by the “home team” that managed the cargo logistics without us being able to help. That was new.
All went well and on Friday, the 9th of October we could finally make the shot trip to port and what a sight was expecting us: the three large German research vessels together in port. RV Meteor on the North pier, in full view, RV Sonne and RV Maria S. Merian on the South pier behind each other. That was new and absolutely magnificent to see. What followed was the usual exchange of personnel with many Hellos and Goodbyes, the check-in to the cabins, the exploration of the vessel which was new to 11 of us scientists. Many familiar faces from previous trips on this or other vessels and an absolutely warm welcome by all on board.
As we travelled light – just two half-empty trucks with equipment – the deck is almost empty and the space in the hangar makes it easy to work. That was new. It was a quick task to distribute all material to the labs and workspaces and since then the entire team has been busy setting up centrifuges, clean benches, computer clusters, telemetries and familiarizing themselves with the ship’s research equipment. Shortly after leaving we already took the first water sample in preparation of later experiments and all went well.
In the meantime, the ship has made its way along the German, Belgian, Dutch, English and French coast and we are now leaving the English Channel due South of the tip of Cornwall. One and a half more days of transit until we finally leave national waters and can start with the science program in our “PAP” working area. More on that in the next report – until then we cannot wait to finally receive the first data!