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Santa Claus found us in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

by Jochen Wollschläger, Claudia Thölen and Michelle Albinus

On 21.12.2021 we (Jochen Wollschläger, Claudia Thölen and Michelle Albinus) boarded the FS Meteor in Las Palmas. Initially, three weeks of transit from Gran Canaria to Punta Arenas, Chile await us. At the moment we are only a total of six scientists from Turkey, Spain and Germany.

FS Meteor – Las Palmas – M179

In Chile we will be joined by our Chilean and Argentinean colleagues as well as other German colleagues. From there we will continue for four weeks through the fjords of Patagonia in the footsteps of the research vessel “Victor Hensen”, which investigated these fjords 25 years earlier. The goal of the cruise is to study glacier melt and the transport of matter from the land to the sea in the coastal areas and to assess the impact on coastal marine communities and biodiversity.

But we are not inactive on our transit voyage either, and during the Atlantic crossing we sample the surface water that the ship’s own seawater system pumps up to our labs and into our instrumentation.

After we have set up our laboratories and our measuring instruments, we have to wait until we are on the high seas and in international waters. Only then can our measurements begin. We, the ICBM team, are responsible for the bio-optical and oceanographic instruments on this cruise. Some of them will only be used on the second leg of the cruise, because we have to stop and lower the instruments into the water, but we can already use some other instruments to collect data “underway”.

Gruppenfoto ICBM Team FS Meteor, Las Palmas

At Christmas we are passing through the economic zone of Cape Verde, which means a small break from measuring and the possibility to celebrate Christmas together with the crew in a very relaxed way. The crew of the Meteor is well prepared for such festivities and quickly sets up a delicious buffet and seating for everyone on deck. There are musical contributions from the ship’s doctor and after the meal there is even a gift-giving for everyone.

We will soon continue our insight into life and work on board the FS Meteor.