R.V. Neil Armstrong was sitting at the Icelandic dock. Next to it, a small wooden Viking boat comes in and out giving tourists the experience of sailing in these Nordic waters where puffins and seagulls take turns fishing for white and brown jellyfishes. To their right, the tourists see the German ship Poseidon, and in front sits the Spanish B.O. Sarmiento de Gamboa. If we also count the two Icelandic research vessels docked nearby, it makes five research vessels in the same port. It’s not every day that one finds so many high-tech research vessels together in one place.
I had the chance of visiting the Spanish vessel again with two American friends while it was in port. It is the same ship that in 2011 took me across the Atlantic at 24ºN, and, interestingly, it had the same crew on board along with my old lab-mate and cabin-mate. It seems that we have all decided to move north. My Americans friends pointed out that the Spanish ship has a better coffee machine but its name is harder to pronounce. I must say that on both ships the food is amazing.
Slowly, one after the other, all the foreign ships leave Iceland – first B.O. Sarmiento de Gamboa, then Poseidon, and then us. The weather since we left the dock has been AWSOME, incredibly calm and flat. I admit that I have never been this far north before (I’m from the Canary Islands) and maybe AWSOME is too strong of a word, but the sub-polar Atlantic has a tough reputation. At the moment the ocean is a glassy-smooth mass of water, and I’m expecting to see some whales in this weather. Tomorrow we will finish our transit and begin our work, let’s hope that the weather decides to travel west with us!