JC010: Mud volcanoes and submarine canyons


Cruise diary

Day 1: Saturday 12 May 2007
Position : Vigo
Activity : Settling in to our new environment
Weather : Overcast, about 16ºC

Gillian writes:

"Let the adventure begin...

We left the UK at 8am on Friday morning and flew to Vigo (northern Spain), where we stayed in a hotel. Friday night was spent getting acquainted with people who were to be my colleagues for the next 3 weeks. The scientists are very excited at the prospect of carrying out some fascinating new research; lots of talk about different research projects. There is a real buzz in the air and the atmosphere is charged with anticipation. We had an early start on Saturday morning. On board the RRS James Cook the first task was to unpack all the equipment, which has been transported from Southampton in the hold in big metal boxes, into their state of the art laboratories. Then it needed firmly securing in case of rough weather. As this is only the second time out there were one or two teething problems - Where is everything going to go?  installing copper airlines and what exactly is that little cupboard labelled slut control? Then a tour of the ROV control room (more to come I am sure) and a guided tour of the ship by the Captain, which proved invaluable as I had already spent a good amount of time wandering about totally lost – so many decks with such odd names!

How do I feel? Well, so many emotions. I feel that I am very fortunate to be able to experience brand new cutting edge research first hand - not something that teachers normally get the opportunity to do. A bit anxious about what is ahead – well actually I know that tomorrow is forecast a Force 9 gale so that should be an experience! (Seasickness pills will be the order of the day for many on board I am sure.) A bit awestruck at being on such an amazing vessel. But I am really looking forward to sharing my experiences over the next three weeks about life on RRS James Cook..."

Eduard writes:

"I start to realise I am joining the James Cook! A couple of months ago, I could not imagine that today I was going to be here, and writing this mail. I arrived on Friday late night from Barcelona (fortunately, these two cities have a direct flight connection and I didn’t miss any class that day), but I didn’t sleep on board. Like the other members of the scientist team, I spent a night in a hotel near the harbour. Saturday early morning was the moment. I was eager to get on board. Have you ever been into a labyrinth? Because the first time I boarded into the ship I felt lost after ten seconds. It is easy to become disoriented. If the colours of the different decks were painted with different colours, I think orientation would be easier for a first-time sailor like me. I spent the first half of the day trying to familiarize myself with all the alleyways and areas. While doing this, I met Gill, my fellow teacher, and all the team. Scientists, the ship’s crew, the mechanics, the ROV technicians… I don’t remember all the names, but I have to say that all of them have been so kind and ready to lend me a hand. I assume that my face was showing an expression like “I am lost! Can you help me?” Try to imagine my face...

One of the most impressive moments was when I saw the Isis, the ROV submarine. I just can’t wait to see it in action! I know I should be patient until we arrive in the Gulf of Cadiz. That would be, probably, on Tuesday. This morning Gillian and I had the chance to say goodbye to Vigo from the bridge of the ship. The Master invited us yesterday and we didn’t have any doubt! It was 8:05am when he, after checking everything was Ok, finally said with a confident voice: “We are ready to go!" The engines started to work. I was impressed when I realise that a big ship like the James Cook could move so smoothly and it is so manoeuvrable. Easy to turn in a really small space.

Now we are going to the south...the whole day sailing! The whole day moving in different directions to us. Just hoping (while hopping) that our sea-sickness tablets do their job...."

Thought of the day: Too many inputs altogether!!!

New words I have learnt (marine terminology) :
Alleyway: Corridor (pasillo in Spanish)
Cabin: Bedroom (Habitación)
Deck: Floor (Piso)

Equipment stowed in the hold of the ship

The chemistry lab - will it all fit?

Doug and Heleen tackle the unpckaing

Next day >

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