Antje Boetius
Chief scientist leg 3
Antje Boetius
a.boetius.d at merian.briese-research.de
Weblog 22.-25 October 2009

Port of Limassol (Cyprus), Start of MERIAN expedition MSM13 leg 3

Antje Boetius, Chief scientist and coordinator of MSM13

I arrived on the 22 October 2 am in Lanaca airport. Luckily, the ship’s agent waited for me and my very heavy suitcase, and brought me directly to the hotel in Limassol. After some much needed sleep, I met the MERIAN at its berth at 10.30 am in the New Port of Lemesos (Limassol) right after it had entered the harbor. It is my first mission on this ship, and it is always exciting to get to know a new ship and crew, as not one is alike the others.

The first thing to do - after saying hello to some old friends - was to check for airfreight delivery and other port logistics. Then I met with the previous chief scientist, Dagmar Hainbucher from the University Hamburg and the Captain of Merian, Karl Friedhelm von Staa, to prepare the reception on board. The RV Maria S. Merian visits for the first time the port of Cyprus and will use it as the main port for a series of expeditions. Hence we were happy to get the opportunity to invite scientific, maritime and diplomatic authorities of Cyprus on board the ship, to inform each other about scientific missions, and to get to know the many helping hands in Limassol. That night, the ROV crew and some of my colleagues arrived from the airport at the hotel, also happy to find a bed in front of Limassol’s seaside promenade.
Almost there. Scientists in transport from the hotel to the ship. (Source Marcel Zarrouk)
Finally arrived! Scientists boarding RV Merian. Source Marcel Zarrouk
View from the hotel across the sea promenade of Limassol. (Source Antje Boetius)
The Ambassador of Germany in Cyprus is arriving at RV Maria S. Merian. (Source Andrea Underbirker)
Captain von Staa and Expedition Coordinator Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius are greeting the guests. (Source Andrea Underbirker)
Chief Scientist Dagmar Hainbucher sums up the results from the first two legs of expedition MSM13. (Source Andrea Underbirker)
George Zodiatis, the Vice Director of the Oceanography Center of Cyrus, presents an overview on the role of Cyprus in marine EU projects. (Source Andrea Underbirker)
Finally at sea! We are leaving Limassol. (Source Antje Boetius)
We started early on the 23 October with the goal to get 7 containers unloaded – four of the ROV and three full of scientific equipment. It was amazing to see how quickly this large empty ship got filled up with boxes and instruments. We needed some 8 hours to find a place for every bit we brought, and could then leave for an enjoyable evening in Limassol, sampling the great local food and wine. That night, the rest of the scientific crew arrived. We are 8 ROV pilots, 13 scientists and technicians plus two Egyptian observers who will hopefully join us later during the cruise.

In the morning of the 24 October, we were picked up with our luggage to board the ship. This was the day for assembling instruments, especially the deep sea remotely operating vehicle ROV QUEST (MARUM, Bremen), equipping the labs, unpacking consumables and working clothes, and emptying the suitcases in our cabins, which will be our homes for the next 7 weeks. Also, we got a detailed safety instruction and could practice entering the very modern rescue boat of RV MERIAN. In the afternoon, all scientists operating large equipment met with the Captain, officers and the boatswain to discuss our working plans and requirements. This evening ended with a stroll through the harbor and everyone was early in bed.

In the morning of the 25 October, at 9 am we set sails to steam to our first working area on the Nile Deep Sea Fan. The day will be used for scientific meetings, final lab preparations, making up solutions and getting to know each other. We left on a beautiful Mediterranean day with blue skies, sun and a blue sea surrounding us.

Antje Boetius
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