It’s been over 40 days since the expedition began. Today, a few of us met at our “movie theater” after the day’s work and we talked about how it felt like we had been here forever. It's as if we’ve always known each other and there’s no world beyond the Neptune and its horizon. But at the same time, we realized that time has flown by and that what seemed so long away at first has started to barrel towards us like a runaway train: the end of the campaign. I think this is a clear reflection of what life is like at sea, intense but rewarding every day.
Back at sea, this is my sixth expedition with Oceana, my first in the North Sea and also my debut as a logistics coordinator.
There have been many pre-campaign preparations and many hours of work focused on making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. It seems that the effort has paid off in the end and here we are at last, aboard the Neptune with our “scientific contraptions”, doing our small part to protect the oceans each day while we sail the waters of a North Sea that has shown us its best side until now, although it does wake up in a grumpy mood some days.
The days go by and the end of the campaign approaches. There is little less than a week left but you have to control the urge to return home, because the accidents occur when you let your guard down. If sailing in the ocean and past campaigns have taught me anything it is to begin and end at the same pace. I have come across people who give it their all on the first day of a voyage. They often fall victim to the fatigue of the sea and are all too soon defeated, especially in bad weather.
It is 3 am, and for me a new day has already started. The rest of the staff are sleeping peacefully, rocked gently by the waves on a calm summer night, which has allowed us to float adrift to the east of Malta after finishing work with the ROVs. I say “goodnight” to my colleague who has been on watch and is eager to grab a few minutes of sleep in the quiet of the night, but not before informing me about what has happened during his two hours on duty.
“People who do not know that a sailboat is a living creature will never understand anything about boats and the sea”.
A fine phrase from a fine seaman like Moitessier. It sums up perfectly those who live and care for boats, which is not something everyone will understand. Although the Ranger only takes to water for campaign work, I am lucky enough to be able to share with it both the good and bad times during the months when it is docked, which is also the best chance to get yourself familiarized – from top to bottom – with a boat.
Hi everyone! I’m Rubén, a crew member onboard the Ranger. Our day-to-work on deck starts early. A good washing-down with buckets of water followed by a few checks and then on to untie the mooring lines. The time spent sailing to our work areas we use to rest, chat or simply observe the ocean and the clouds. We’re being lucky with the weather – although I expected less rain that what we’ve had: it’s rained a few times this week at-sea.
The day started early in the best possible manner: raiding the buffet! Once our bellies were filled a long day in the sea awaited us. Today, we are heading to the port of Rää and need to catch a train and a bus to reach our destination.
Everything is prepared and checked well in advance before departing towards the channel between Helsingborg and Helsingør at one of the most northern sites of the expedition. The weather is good and the sun is shine, but distant clouds suggest the wind will soon pick up.
Hello everyone, my name is Rubén González and I am responsible for coordinating the ROV manoeuvres onboard the boat. My job involves positioning the boat such that the ROV can navigate underwater, so I have to take into account factors such as the currents, the wind direction and intensity, depth, bottom profile, the vessel's response time, and the movements of the ROV. I am stationed on the deck, where I can communicate continuously with the ROV team and the captain.