By Thomas Ronge | Sometimes you read in expedition blogs of other research cruises that an expedition is delayed due to minor problems by one or two days. Until we boarded Polarstern this week, our expedition, PS104, was delayed by two years!
Initially, our plan was to set sail in 2015 as PS90. Unfortunately, a major problem occurred during the preceding expedition, so that our cruise was cancelled completely. Despite our initial shock, it might have been fortunate that our cruise was delayed. The sea ice conditions back in 2015 were so severe that we might not have reached our working area in the Antarctic Amundsen Sea. Today in 2017, our satellite-based sea ice maps show much more favorable conditions.
After about 30h we arrived Punta Arenas with stopovers in Amsterdam and Santiago de Chile.
While the majority of the scientific party could use the time between boarding and departure to set up their cabins and laboratories, the Bremen MeBo-team was facing three days of strenuous work on the working deck. Our main tool, the MeBo 70 sea floor drill rig had to be unloaded and assembled on the working deck. More about MeBo will follow in another blog entry.
Together with Polarstern, a Chilean, US American, Brazilian, Spanish, Chinese and a Japanese research vessel were moored in Punta Arenas.
As one of our fellow AWI geologists just arrived aboard the Japanese R/V Mirai, we were invited to visit our Japanese colleagues, while they got a tour aboard R/V Polarstern.
Now that MeBo passed it’s final test, we are finally sailing for Antarctica via the Strait of Magellan.