Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One week until BVAL

Its all go in PEL at the moment, packing for a big cruise at the end of the month. We are off to Puerto Rico on the annual BATS validation cruise, or BVAL for short. This is a 22 day cruise split into two legs. On the first leg we will head north from Bermuda (and hope the weather is kind) to 40 degrees North. Then we turn round and come back past Bermuda, heading south past the regular BATS site at 31 degrees North and eventually, after a lot of hard work, end up in  Puerto Rico at 18 degrees North.

We leave Bermuda on the 28th of September, not long after Marine Science day (which is on the 24th of September, check our Facebook page for details!). We will be taking samples and working day and night as we go. The work we do is very similar to the regular schedule carried out on a BATS cruise.

"BioNauts" from the BIOS Ocean Academy spent the day on our research vessel, the R/V Atlantic Explorer. Click on the YouTube logo to watch the video in HD!

The aim of the cruise is to compare the BATS site to the broader western Sargasso sea. We want to know how representative BATS is of a broader spatial range and according to our PI (principle investigator) Dr. Mike Lomas "once we get south of about 28N it's a whole other world". So I'm looking forward to that!

The first leg of the cruise finishes when we arrive in Puerto Rico on the 13th of October. Then it's time for the crew and scientists to have a meal and celebrate their arrival. A lucky few of us then get to jump ship and spend the weekend exploring the rainforest and bioluminescence of Puerto Rico. For the rest of the crew is time to turn round and head back to Bermuda with the next batch of scientists, who will fly in to meet the ship and carry on the work for the homeward leg.

So lets hope for calm seas, no tropical storms, plenty of good food provided by our fantastic chefs and lots of successful science!

I shall keep you updated, until then I better get on with the packing.

PEL Research Technician.

The crew hard at work preparing the R/V Atlantic Explorer for the 2011 BVAL cruise.