Hi there, and welcome to today’s blogpost coming to you from RV Belgica! My name is Lotte Verweirder, and for now, I am still a geology student at Ghent University. I just finished writing my master’s thesis less than two weeks ago, so I’m nearly at the end of my studies (still have to do my oral defence though…). During my thesis, I worked on submarine landslides in the area of the Gollum Channels, which is relatively close to where we are now. The biggest chunk of my data was gathered last year, with the exact same ship as the one I am on right now. So of course, when I was asked if I wanted to join on this campaign, it was an offer I could not refuse.
After having successfully acquired a first part of the seismic data in the study area yesterday, the weather turned and the waves became too high to do any more surveying. Very early this morning, we sailed towards the calmer waters of Bantry Bay, where we are now anchored near the beautifully green shores. Today, in nice, sunny weather we tested some of the equipment we will hopefully be using in the following days. The last tests are being done to make sure every part of the ROV is working properly before it can be lowered into the water. The GAPS positioning system is now mounted on the side of the ship and will help us to accurately locate the ROV once it is in the water.
So far for me, this campaign has been a great experience. Admitted, I did spend a big part of the first day out on the sea in bed trying to calm down my stomach, but there are more than enough pros to counter that one negative aspect of being a part of this trip. I have already learned so much working with all the highly experienced people here on board, not only about the practical use of different types of equipment and software, but thanks to the two biologists on board, also about birds, bats and whales. It is very interesting to witness the effort that goes into gathering the data that up until now was always just given to me on a flash drive. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the delicious and plentiful food, and the waves rocking me to sleep every night make this seem more like a holiday than actual work 😊.