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Onboard the RRS James Cook

Over the last few days, the VoiLA team have assembled in Trinidad and are now all onboard the boat, preparing to sail on the JC133 cruise. The science team consists of Jenny Collier (Principal Scientist) from Imperial College London, Andreas Rietbrock from Liverpool University, Tim Henstock from Southampton University, Henning Kirk and Aline Plötz from DEPAS (Germany), Martin Rapa and Mark Gibaud from SCRIPPS (USA), Vanessa Hiemer from Potsdam (Germany), and myself (George Cooper, Durham University). This is a relatively small team for the James Cook, which can hold around 30 scientists.

I flew into Port of Spain on Thursday, and joined the boat on Friday morning where it is currently moored in the port in Chaguaramas. Here, it is undergoing some minor repairs before we head to sea.

The James Cook in Chaguaramas
Slightly smaller than the tanker in the dry dock next door!

This is my first time on a research vessel, so I was a little unsure as to what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with my roomy cabin (see below). It took some time to find myself around the boat (in fact i’m still trying to do so). The boat has 7 floors (plus the engine room) with multiple ways to go and stairs to take so its easy to take a wrong turn! I have been amazed that all the crew know my name before I have even said hello; everyone onboard the boat has been very welcoming.

My cabin, with sea view

After settling in, we all met for a safety induction and a tour of the boat from Graham (the ships Purser), followed by a meeting on some of the specifics of the OBS deployment. All the equipment was already loaded onto the boat and unpacked before arriving, but the DEPAS team have been very busy over the last few days, setting up and testing their OBS.

OBS laid out in the hangar 

With the boat still in port, it feels a little bit like a floating hotel, but fingers crossed the repairs will be done so that we can leave without too much delay and let the science begin!

I will be posting regular updates here and on Twitter during the JC133 cruise. You can follow the VoiLA project at https:/