Finally at sea!

Das Forschungsschiff SONNE verlässt Auckland in Neuseeland mit Ziel Dutch Harbor in Alaska.
The research vessel Sonne is leaving Auckland in New Zealand with destination Dutch Harbor in Alaska.

After months of intensive preparation and anticipation of our cruise aboard the Sonne, we are finally at sea. Yesterday morning at 9 a.m. we left Auckland harbor. We have now travelled almost 600 km; the ocean floor is 3950 m below us.

Almost all of the labs are now fully set up. The three containers with our gear arrived in Auckland several days ahead of us. The first day on board was the big unpacking day: all of the labs were filled with boxes, canisters, and containers of all sizes and shapes. Some were very light, others were so heavy that they had to be moved into place using a crane.

Fortunately, we could use the loading day in Auckland to distribute everything into the labs, unpack, and secure our equipment before departure.

Auckland was beautifully sunny as we left, and all of the scientists were on deck. We took lots of photos of the ever-smaller skyline as it receded in the distance. The weather then became windier: in Auckland Harbor the sea was still, and we could hardly tell when the ship left the dock. That changed once we left the harbor. The ocean is still quite calm, but the wave swells are noticeable – particularly in the ship’s mess deck (the

cafeteria): if you fill your soup bowl too full, it soon slops over the rim!