Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Houston, we have left the harbor

Nereus’ tool sled with manipulator arm being craned aboard.

We brought everything but the kitchen sink!

Lifting the gang-plank ashore.

Tina secures the CTD while Steve—who will be rejoining us for Leg 2, and our local agent Malcolm (right) watch on from dry land.
Lat 28° 24.5’N, Long 080° 36.3’W

We were all up early again today ready to set off, but first we had to load a few last items.

First aboard was the underside of Nereus – the tool sled with its manipulator arm that we will use on Leg 2 of the cruise. That is when we expect to convert Nereus from its free-swimming AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) mode into a tethered remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for detailed seafloor investigations and sampling. Next (almost as important to some minds?), came… the garden bench - because even the smallest creature comforts at sea can make a difference.

With that on board it was time to roll the gangplank ashore and sever our links to dry land. Then and only then did we have space to lift our CTD-rosette aboard ship and land it right where the gangplank had been. A definite case of last but not least, because we will rely on this CTDs enormously to start our search for new hydrothermal vents. As that slogan from a certain credit card famously says: Don’t leave home without it!

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