A salute to the crew of the Sonne

In the previous blog posts, we have commented on the excellent work of the crew of the research vessel Sonne. Today I would like to devote an entire blog post to the crew, and to thank them in the name of the entire scientific party for the great atmosphere on board, for the flawless execution of our scientific program, the patient, careful, and thoughtful support of our work, and for all of the countless aspects of life on board the Sonne that they have created and supported that have made our time here so productive and comfortable. A big thank you to every crew member of the Sonne!

We were aboard the Sonne for more than a month. We traveled from Auckland (New Zealand), at 38 South, to the middle of the Bering Sea, at 59 N, and have collected an unparalleled set of samples for our research. We lived aboard the Sonne during this time, it became our home. But in fact, we scientists are only visitors; many thanks to our hosts, the crew of the Sonne!

I want to thank the chef and members of the kitchen team first of all: Chef Andreas Spieler and his assistant cook Frank Stöcker spoiled us every day with a variety of excellent meals. They managed to serve a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the cruise – a testimony to their good planning. And for the vegetarians among us, there was always a delicious alternative meal, something that cannot be taken for granted. So we were all glad that only the ship’s doctor had a scale…

The doctor: many thanks to Dr. Sabine Heuser, the ship’s doctor who was available around the clock if there was need. Fortunately, there were no problems on our trip: she handled a few minor issues and helped us overcome the cold viruses that we brought aboard.

There were other people who worked around the clock to ensure our comfort on board: thanks to the stewards René Lemm and Maik Steep, and stewardess Katharina Hellenbrandt. The three did a great job, with everything from serving meals to cleaning. And when head steward René opened his shop three times per week, we purchased a lot of snacks and chocolate. It was an even bigger event when he opened his bar, a highlight of the times we could relax.

Thanks also to the scientific-technical personnel, who were always at hand when help was needed. Whether we had issues with the freezer in the lab, a non-functional printer, or connecting to the server on board, everything was rapidly fixed by Jörg Leppin, Hermann Pregler und Miriam Plöger.

We have already previously mentioned the help of the deck crew, and some members of the crew can be seen on the photos and videos in earlier blog entries. Here, we want to thank all of the members of the deck crew. Without the help of bosun Torsten Bierstedt and his men, we wouldn’t have gotten anything in the water – and back on deck. Whether we needed a 5 a.m. CTD or a 2 a.m. MUC, we always had the support of the deck crew. Thank you to Arnold Ernst, Dennis Vogel, Frank Heibeck, Günther Stängl, Jürgen Kraft, Reno Ross and Sascha Fischer.

The machine room crew was mentioned in an earlier blog post. Thanks again to Achim Schüler, Tim Stegmann, Steffen Genschow, Hendrik Schmidt, Henning de Buhr, Torsten Bolik, Björn Bredlo, Georg Hoffmann and Sebastian Thimm for their round-the-clock work on the lower decks of the Sonne.

And of course, we are extremely grateful to the officers on the bridge: Captain Lutz Mallon, first officer Nils Aden, and second officers Jens Göbel and colleague. Thank you for bringing us safely through the Pacific and the Bering Sea. Many of our stations were in areas that were so little known that we could determine the exact depth only once we were on station. I am very impressed by the calm and professional manner in which the Sonne is run, and the way the special “Sonne atmosphere” is maintained on board.

Dear Sonne crew, it was great to be with you aboard the Sonne. We would all gladly come back for another cruise!