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SO290 – The long-awaited cruise

3 flights, 2 PCR tests, 2 bus rides, 2 hotel stays, 1 taxi ride and 1 quick test to RV Sonne

By Julia Warnatz and Svenja Illemann – 24. 4. 2022

The dream of a trip on a research ship came true for us, two students from the University of Oldenburg. Together with a 34-member team of scientists and technicians, and 31 crew members, we will spend the next four weeks on board the RV Sonne. We will start in Nouméa. Where is that? In New Caledonia. But… where is New Caledonia? To be honest, we were unsure too and had to search a map for some time, because the island is quite small. It is in the Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and north of New Zealand.

On 8 April we set off on the long journey from wet and cold Hamburg to tropical Nouméa for the “PaläoTaNZ”, cruise SO290, expedition, which stands for “Paleoceanography of the southern Tasman Sea and glacial history of the South Island New Zealand over the last glacial-interglacial cycles”. After 3 flights, 2 PCR tests, 2 bus rides, 2 hotel stays, 1 taxi ride and 1 more COVID test, we finally reached the port of Nouméa, where the RV Sonne lay eagerly waiting for us.

Well… the ship is bigger than expected and much bigger than the model in the ICBM Oldenburg. With 116 m length, 20.6 m width and 10 decks, we were amazed when we saw it. The luggage was instantly left behind and the perfect spot for THE ultimate photo of the Sonne was sought. See for yourself:

RV Sonne port of Nouméa – SO290 Svenja Illemann (CC BY 4.0)

Then boarding began. After checking in our passports and of course another quick COVID test, we were allowed to move into our assigned cabins (assuming you can find them!). At first, the ship was a big maze. Cabin numbers 227 and 228 should mean second deck… so far so good!