Saturday, August 15, 2009

Port Call

The past two days we made our scheduled port call in Málaga, Spain for supplies and to transfer several of the scientific crew. Those on the first leg of the project were glad to stretch their legs ashore for a short time in between the bustle of debriefing those arriving to ensure consistency in protocols and data collection. It was a festive time in the city; our brief time there happened to coincide with the beginning of Feria de Málaga which is celebrated for nine days beginning on the Friday of the second half of August in honor of the merging of Málaga to the Castilian Crown due to the conquest by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487. This made for some minor challenges in getting people and gear to the port with the crowds, but all went according to schedule and we are now steaming back out to sea. The picture here shows our departure from this Spanish port city under a pleasant sunset.

Tonight we had an all-hands meeting to discuss plans for the second leg and review the protocols with everyone as a group. We have a good deal of consistency between the two legs, but do have some changes in personnel in key roles. Thus we wanted to make sure we were all on the same page with the many specific protocols for safety and data collection for our different operational modes. Additionally, we will conduct several practice drills tomorrow deploying gear and personnel in a mock run of a tagging and controlled exposure exercise. The sound source will be deployed for practice and timing, but not turned on during this drill. After this drill, we will switch to survey mode and begin searching for animals. The weather forecast is for marginal conditions, but improving over the next several days.