Thursday, March 21, 2013


Leaving port  in Las Palmas at night

The Spanish research vessel SARMIENTO DE GAMBOA left the Canary Islands on Saturday March 16th right after sunset. The lights of Las Palmas faded away into the black as we started our journey to the middle of the subtropical North Atlantic. 

The SARMIENTO takes part in the SPURS experiment, helping to understand salinity processes in the upper ocean on a multitude of scales. We will arrive in the SPURS study area earlier then the American vessel R/V ENDEAVOR and start a large-scale survey of the salinity field at the surface and at depth. This effort is supported by salinity measurements from space, autonomous measurement platforms and daily computer model forecasts for the ocean.
The Zodiac is lowered to test the ASIP profiler before deployment
For the next month this vessel will be home for about 19 scientists, 6 technicians and 18 crew members, making it a true melting pot out on the open ocean. 6 languages are spoken on board (Spanish, English, French, Catalan, Galician and Russian). Participants of this cruise include members of the University of Vigo, ICM-CSIC (Barcelona), LOCEAN(Paris), National University of Ireland at Galway and Columbia University/LDEO (New York).
The long transit to the middle of the ocean gives opportunity to thoroughly prepare every instrument and settle into a 24/7 sampling routine.
The weather is brilliant and the large swells from a storm system in the Northwest spared us so far. The ocean around has an incredible blue color only interrupted at times by Orca whales, dolphins or bright violet jellyfish. This makes the chores of testing every piece of equipment a little less hard, especially when taking a break on deck with a fresh Serrano ham sandwich or an exquisite cup of Espresso.

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