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Ocean interfaces under global changes –
Exploring the fate of the Amazon River plume

30.05.2021 – Back on land

Every cruise or project is different but the one we just completed was far beyond our expectations. After two months of intense work, we are finally back on land and can fully appreciate how much we just accomplished- among other things, to have made the longest R/V Meteor cruise ever. The very first days on board feel distant and so is all the time we spent in the quarantine hotel. Next to that, the packing, all the organization and preparation prior the start in Las Palmas is beyond range. It was amazing, and some still cannot believe it happened in spite of the current conditions.

We could ask Maren, our chief scientist, about the organization of a cruise in normal time, she will already tell you that it is a lot of work. Not hard to imagine then that planning an international cruise under strict Covid restriction is a mess that put her to the test. Countless forms in multiple languages, endless phone calls, meetings… Maren had to struggle to get everyone on this cruise and to get all the relevant information from each scientist. The result of all this effort has not always been successful, and our Brazilian colleagues couldn’t join. But at least we had a very nice Brazilian observer on board, without whom we could not have worked.

For a long time, it was not even certain that we could go and when this was finally sure, we had to wait for the authorization to access Brazilian waters until the very last moment. We had our last bad surprise when our bus could not pass the gate and enter the harbor because its number plate information had been lost!

Eventually, we arrived on board of the R/V METEOR and it was delightful to see how Maren could not believe her eyes. We were finally there, and had a wonderful cruise with a lot of work done and even managed to take samples for the colleagues left behind! It is strange to be back, out of our safe bubble far from the pandemic and every other catastrophes. It feels weird not to have to fight against the swell, not to hang out with this group of people you crossed an ocean with. The color of the grass, all the perfumes from the flowers are intense compared to the mixture of iodine salt and steel we lived in for two months.

We will all need a bit of time to rest but soon we will start with another exciting step in our project: the analysis of our samples in the lab. After a few weeks we will have our first results and later this year the first meeting with the colleagues from abroad - but then at the IOW. Then maybe we can already start writing "stories" with our data and finally get some hints on how the Amazon river plume works! The first conference visit is also already planned for 2022.

Thank you to everyone who has followed us this far and read with interest all that has happened. We will be back.


Text: Choisnard N., Voss M. (all IOW) | click pictures to enlarge

Expedition: M174
Mission: MeNARP
Start: 12.04.2021 - Las Palmas
Destination: 31.05.2021 - Emden


Meteor: Current Position

Research vessel Meteor