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Meteor Blog 15 August: Land ahead ! – A short but successful visit to Luanda

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There will be no further deployments of the ROV if the crew won't be able to organize spare parts for the dive robot. Chief scientist Antje Boetius continues her report of yesterday's adventures and the short visit to Luanda.

Planetearth Blog

Does the biodiversity of deep-sea organisms play a role for the climate on Planet Earth? Questions all about marine research will be answered directly aboard of the German research vessel Meteor by cruise leader Prof. Antje Boetius and her crew. In cooperation with the geoportal from 17.08.08 to 24.08.08 they contribute a Science-Blog of METEOR expedition M76/3 GUINECO – MARUM research of fluid and gas seeps on the Westafrican continental margin. Technical highlight of the cruise is the remote-controlled under water robot QUEST4000 by MARUM that will be deployed for taking fauna and sediments samples and conduction of in situ experiments. Go on a dive down to places no other human being has ever seen before: explore the fascinating deep-sea fauna and watch the scientists’ work at gas and fluid seeps deep down on the ocean bottom.

Expedition M76/3b is a collaboration of MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at Bremen University and its associated institutes MPI and AWI as well as the French research institute IFREMER and the University of Paris.

More Informationen of the Meteor-Blog, an overview of all contributions to the blog and expedition M76/3B:

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15. August 2008 (Author: Antje Boetius)

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Land ahead ! – A short but successful visit to Luanda

Antje Boetius: Mit PC auf DeckAuthor: Chief Scientist Antje Boetius (also see BLOG of 25 July and 12-13 August)

The BLOG of 12-13 July reports from our sorrows and hopes regarding the search for spare parts to fix the broken fiber optics cable of ROV QUEST.

15. August: Bild 1Picture 1 –Scientific meeting on board METEOR – discussing solutions (Picture source: Jörg Tonnius)

After several meetings (Picture 1) and different attempts to solve the problem, it seemed most probable to get spare parts shipped from MARUM to a harbor on the West African coast. Hence, we left our working area REGAB (picture 2) and steamed towards Luanda, the capital city and main port of Angola.

15. August: Bild 2Picture 2 – Steaming to Luanda (Picture source: Jörg Tonnius)

We arrived in Luanda in the morning of the 14 August and could not see much because of the dense fog prevailing in the Bay area (picture 3-6). The courier carrying the spare parts should arrive at the airport of Luanda around midday, and the quickly hired ship’s agent was supposed to pick up the parcel with the small plugs and connections and deliver it to METEOR. In addition it was necessary to declare the ship and immigrate everyone to Angola, although we did not set a foot on land. 15. August: Bild 3To save as much time as possible, and to avoid any health or safety related risks, it was agreed upon that we would stay on board at sea, and that the transport was carried out by boat.

Picture 3 – the Bay of Luanda – a natural harbor with a long history

Picture 4-6 – Views on neighbor ships in the harbor of Luanda (Picture source: Tomas Wilkop)

15. August: Bild 4This time we were very lucky – the delivery of the parts and also the whole formal procedure of entering Angola went very smoothly. The agent arrived around 4 pm together with the customs and immigration officers and an hour later we were able to return to sea and steam back to REGAB.

15. August: Bild 5During the 24 hour transit the ROV team was able to fix the broken fibers and our goal was to be back in water with the lift and ROV in the evening of Friday the 15 August. I can tell you already now that this worked out very well, we were so happy when we got the first views of the seafloor displayed at 1:00 am of the 16 August, and tomorrow we will report of the results of our long and highly successful dive 225.

Best greetings

Antje Boetius

15. August: Bild 6