I’m writing this post next to the kitchen, while Katy is preparing a
lemon drizzle cake. Wonderful smell!
So this post marks the middle of our expedition: day 12 out of 24
working days. So far the results have been extremely promising, by far
surpassing my expectations. At this point, we have completed all the
planned stations and are now going ahead with “bonus – only” work to
satisfy our curiosity, and fill more knowledge gaps. It definitely is a
strong asset to be able to make decisions on the spot, taking our most
recent experience into account to choose the most interesting sites we
will visit next. We now have a list of candidate stations in contrasting
conditions to work on.
Here are a few figures, at this stage, I would like to share with our
Crew: 3 members + 9 scientists: aged 25 to 45 (I’m the oldest :))
12 sampling days
112 gear deployments
131 distinct scientific names sampled
21 scuba dives
1711 litres of fuel used
805.59 nautical miles covered
24 home-baked cakes, all eaten
161 beer cans
1200 Gb of video recordings
250 specimens macro-photographed
All is not perfect of course. My biggest frustration relates to constant
electronic failures from our ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) systems.
Even if I embarked two different models (one of them as a backup), both
had failures that forced us to significantly lower the ambition level
for our habitat mapping project. We still managed to fix one of the
ROVs, which we can still use to scout underwater/seafloor conditions
before we deploy our divers and sampling gear, and also for taking nice
video footage for our documentary.
This is my first experience as an expedition leader, and I’m really
enjoying this moment. Its still a bit early, but I think we will be
making a strong impact, especially in the direction of limiting our
environmental footprint as scientists. The B121 team impresses me
everyday, all the members are dedicated to the work, creative and
collaborating together in an excellent spirit. Each night when we
debrief, I have the impression the day has lasted for a whole week, as
so much work and exciting discoveries were made. Each station we visit
tells a different story and unveils some of the unknowns we are after.
We are gathering a lot of samples and new information, and it will take
a long time to process everything, but I’m really happy with what we
have achieved together so far.