It’s late at night when Annie and I arrive at the port of Suva, we look around and there are a lot of container boats, then we see her, Tara! Our excitement grows as we get closer, the captain, Samuel, is waiting for us. He shows us our cabin and the basics on board. We didn’t really manage to sleep that night, thinking of the adventure ahead.
The next morning it all becomes real, we wait for customs clearance and then we leave Suva. It a beautiful sunny day, and we motor out of Fiji. We got to meet all the crew, there’s 14 of us, 7 crew, 4 scientists, a journalist and 3 volunteers.
After an amazing lunch we start doing some science work.
We deployed 3 types of plankton nets with different mesh size in order to sample zooplankton and phytoplankton. We towed the net for a specific time or pumped water through it, then we got a water sample the that is filtered and the filter is stored for further analysis (DNA, RNA etc).
The phytoplankton sample gets analysed with a flow cytometer, which counts the amount of phytoplankton and also takes pictures of them.
Alongside the plankton measurements, pH and iron are also measured. The pH is measured on board with a spectrophotometric method, while the iron sample will be measured in a lab on land.
After a busy day of work Marion, the onboard cook, prepared a delicious fish curry and cake for dessert. Who would have thought that you could eat so well ona boat!
The next day wind picked up to 25 knots an we have hoisted the sails. The engines have been turned off and it is a bit more peaceful. In the morning we helped out with the preparation of the filters for the plankton, and we got a sample for iron analysis. Then seasickness hit us, so we have to lie down for the rest of the day. I guess no one can escape seasickness and we are due our share, although we can t wait to feel better and start our work on the boat again.
BLAKE Tara Ambassador 2017