Blog Nr 1: 17 July 2008

Today’s BLOG is contributed by:
„ Hi, my name is Christina Bienhold and I am a PhD student of the graduate school GLOMAR of the University of Bremen. I am doing my research in the Microbial Habitat group of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen. During my Ph.D. studies I am investigating microbial biodiversity in deep-sea sediments. On this cruise I will be involved in the sampling for molecular and biogeochemical analyses.”
Position: 21°33' S, 013°24' E
Let go all lines!

This morning at 10 am Meteor and its international crew leave “Walvisbaai” (Namibia). Accompanied by the pilots and lots of jellyfish in the waters around us, we begin our scientific voyage, which will last 6 weeks and takes us northward from here to the Congo continental margin. At departure all scientists gather on deck, with cameras at hand, to witness the start of our journey and enjoy the last views of land. For many of them it is the first time on a research vessel, but I believe that also for the experienced sea-going scientists it is always the beginning of a new adventure. We are waved goodbye by a few seals that pop up their heads, as well as by a large sea turtle that suddenly appears on portside to catch a breath, but disappears as quickly as it had appeared.
The morning was also used for an introduction to the safety on board by the officer in charge, who informed us about the alarm signals and some important rules on board. Afterwards the general alarm was practised and everyone had to gather at the meeting point on deck with his/her life vest (Similar to a fire alarm on land, just that you do not bring a life vest there). The first scientific meeting in the afternoon was used to give a short overview of the working area, to introduce all participating scientists and to design a rough program for the next days, during which we will steam towards the working area.
For the next six weeks the Meteor will be our working environment, our home and place for social exchange. I am excited and looking forward to that.

Christina Bienhold
Position: 21°33' S, 013°24' E
METEOR leaves Walvisbay harbor. On the aft deck the ROV and the lift are installed.
Group of scientists from Germany, Peru and Nigeria who watch the departure on deck.
Start of the GUINECO cruise M76/3B
A special farewell guest – a giant sea turtle
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