IOW Logo

The Benguela System under climate change - Effects of Variability in physical forcing on carbon and oxygen budgets

18.02.-24.02.2022 Land in sight

On 18.02.2022 at 11.46 UTC, the event we have all been waiting for will happen: We cross the equator. It jolts violently as we cross this red line. No, of course it doesn't. But we stand in front of the screens and follow how the GPS signal changes from S to N. We even count down the last few seconds like on New Year's Eve Zwinkernd. After that, everything goes back to normal. In the evening we catch up on our mountain party. OK, it's already a farewell party, but that doesn't matter. The weather is nice and we sit on deck with the crew and enjoy delicious food from the barbecue.

The following evening, we can see mats of algae on the surface of the water - Sargassum sp. We had hoped to find these algal mats and so we make a short stop the next morning, lower both inflatable boats into the water and take samples. Sargassum, also called gulf kelp, is a genus of brown algae found in warmer seas worldwide. The Sargassum we find here comes from the Sargasso Sea, a marine area in the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida. The algal mats were transported here by the ocean currents. They provide shelter for many creatures and so we wanted to take at least a few samples. After both inflatable boats and three full buckets are back on board, the journey continues.

The boxes are now all packed and waiting to be stowed back in the containers. Toni, Sebastian and Philipp have come up with a pub quiz for everyone and so we sit in the mess hall in a swell (the wind has picked up again) and a total of 50 questions may be answered. The theme round revolves, how could it be otherwise, around the name "Merian". After the quiz champions have been crowned, Micha gives us a song he wrote especially for the trip - the Benthology-Song.

On Monday, the containers are packed. We are good at the Tetris game and everything finds its place. Only what is absolutely needed remains outside the containers. Then we have our last science meeting and draw a first summary of this trip, which was a complete success. We have achieved more than we wanted and everyone is more than satisfied. Afterwards, the labs are cleaned to leave everything tidy for the next group.

On Wednesday morning we see Cape Verde in the first sunlight of the day. A few hours later we dock safely in Mindelo. The cabins are cleaned and we pack our things. On Thursday morning we are picked up. Five of us stay on Cape Verde for a few more days, for the others we go to the airport. From here we fly back home, which we are all looking forward to, although we hear the news that there is now a war in Europe...


Text: Fabian J., Braun P. (both IOW)

Expedition: MSM105
Mission: BUSUC 2
Start: 11.01.2022 - Walvis Bay
Ziel: 23.03.2022 - Mindelo


RV Maria S. Merian: Current position

Information on the ship