We left the UK for St John’s on the 22nd May. During our Trans-Atlantic flight cloud cover began to clear as we neared Canada. We were flying over Labrador, Canada, north of Goose Bay and we got to witness a snowy landscape with sea ice all around the coast. St John’s is further south than Goose Bay but it left us wondering if we would get to see any icebergs during the cruise.
During the flight to Canada it was possible to get an update on our current location with the in-flight entertainment display. One of the areas of interest marked on the interactive map was the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone and there were a number of other areas of interest for deep-sea scientists. It certainly helps having such a useful map when trying to explain to the person sitting next to you during the flight where exactly you would be spending the next few weeks at sea.
We had our first full day in St John’s on the 23rd May and awoke to a cloudy sky. The James Cook has been docked in St John’s for the last week and National Marine Facilities staff have been busy preparing for the upcoming cruise. The science party managed to board the vessel on the 24th May. The first thing all the scientists onboard want to check is that all our equipment had arrived safe and sound. This is important as St. John’s would be our final opportunity for getting hold of any last minute supplies. For some of us it was our first time onboard the James Cook and so we were given a tour of the vessel as well as a safety induction prior to sailing. The James Cook is an extremely comfortable boat to be spending almost 6 weeks at sea on. We will provide a photographic tour of the vessel and scientific living quarters on a later blog.
We also had the opportunity to meet up with fellow marine scientists from Memorial University. A few of us visited their campus and Prof. Priede (the chief scientist onboard the James Cook) gave a presentation on our upcoming cruise and an overview of the previous ECOMAR cruises. We also gave any interested scientists from the university a tour of the James Cook. We had some last minute logistical issues and we really appreciate all the help our colleagues from Memorial University provided with and we hope that one day we have the opportunity to return the favour.