Alisa Clickenger here. I’ll be your expedition leader in the Azores this year. I love working in the Azores because our scientist Lisa Steiner (we like to see if you are paying attention using our given names Alisa and Lisa) is great to work with. You won’t find anyone more passionate about whales than she is, and she has the best “eyes” on the ocean for spotting cetaceans. I learn so much from her every year. There’s a video of Lisa below
I’m finishing up some things here in the States (mainly a visit with mum) and then I will arrive a few days before you volunteers in order to set up the expedition headquarters. We’ll have Catherine, Craig and Sue as expedition-leaders-in-training (see www.biosphere-eexeditions.org/about for their details) along with us on each slot (and in that order), and we’re fortunate for that. I’ll send around another message once I get on the ground in Horta and confirm my local mobile telephone number. It should be xxxxxx, but I’ll confirm it’s working when I get it out of storage on arrival. Please remember this is only for emergency use such as missing assembly.
Ah, yes, mobile phones. There’s reception on Faial in addition to internet here and there, but we won’t be using cell phones while we’re at sea, so I invite you all to tell everyone you are off the grid for the expedition, leave your devices at home, and soak up all this expedition experience has to offer. I’ve recently become addicted to backgammon, so if anyone has a game they’d like to bring along…
I know you’ve all been eagerly reading your expedition materials and know to bring many layers of clothing. Last year was freezing cold, and the year before that very warm. We’ll see what 2014 brings. I’ll mention now that every year we have someone arrive without waterproof pants, and they get very wet and cold and miserable, especially if they are stationed on the bow as a lookout and the weather is choppy. While you can purchase waterproofs in Horta, they are expensive on the island.
Lisa tells me that she’s already been whispering to the whales, and they are eager for your arrival. So am I. Lisa has posted some updates of cetacean activity on www.facebook.com/biosphere.expeditions1 and there is a welcome video by yours truly below, so you can meet me before you meet me, it you see what I mean.
Safe travels and see you in due course.