S 34° 50’ 20.6″ E 27° 32’ 18.8″ – The first working day of this leg of the Malaspina expedition began with the splash of a Neuston net into the black water on the starboard side of the Hespérides before dawn on Sunday. The bosun, another operations officer, and a handful of technicians and scientists wearing life vests and helmets stood watch with arms folded under the warm yellow running lights of the ship. They were waiting in the rich wet air for a fine mesh net, hanging behind the two metal pontoons of the skate, to fill with creatures of the night. Continue reading
I decided last night to join the 4:30am Neuston net team and the 5:00am Conductivity-Temperature-Depth rosetta deployment. These are gangly-looking devices the size of a go-kart and a Madrid street recycling bin, respectively.
My sea legs weren’t that great yesterday. I wobbled a lot and hit the wall sometimes while walking down corridors. My stomach, luckily, is doing much better–no problems at all and I sleep like a brick. Continue reading
Cape Town was filled with chattering Spanish researchers this week, on shore between legs of a circumnavigation that will take them from Cádiz to Sydney and back, by way of the Panama Canal. They chewed on biltong and rode the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. Now they are loading water sampling tubes and unpacking their laboratory equipment on the B.I.O. Hespérides, docked here in Cape Town until this afternoon, when we head for Perth. Continue reading
I’m joining the Malaspina expedition, a Spanish oceanographic cruise
circling the globe in the wake of Alessandro Malaspina’s 1789-1794
exploratory voyage (http://www.expedicionmalaspina.es). I will embark
on the Hespérides in Cape Town later this week bound for Perth, a
months’ voyage across the Indian Ocean, all told.
During the cruise I’ll be writing about the science and the scientists
for Nature. The blog posts should appear on The Great Beyond:
I’ll also tweet about my experiences aboard @lucaslaursen
(http://twitter.com/#!/lucaslaursen), in the grand tradition of my
previous short-form reporting adventures: @apolloplus40
(http://twitter.com/#!/apolloplus40) and the Harvard Borkoldoy
which took place back before Twitter even existed!
Got tips for me? This is my first long ocean voyage and my first time
in the southern hemisphere, not to mention the first time I’ve ever
had to buy a pair of steel-toed, calf-height rubber boots for a