It’s time for the initial introductions. I am Craig Turner (on the left below) and I’ll be your Expedition Leader in the Azores this year.
If expeditions are a journey with a purpose, then the first part of that journey is complete. I arrived in the Azores (coming from Scotland) on Friday to prepare the expedition. It wasn’t quite all as planned, as we had an unscheduled stop in Porto, for a medical emergency on the plane. The delay meant I ending up chatting to a Brazilian academic about his PhD work on film translation, and on the second flight I bumped into Jim, one of our hosts from Banana Manor.
It is great to be back again and to meet up with friends and colleagues from previous years, not least, our scientist Lisa Steiner (looking through the ladder below). If you want to find cetaceans in the Azores, then she is the person to find them. Last year, our first day at sea scored our one and only humpback whale for the expedition – so you never can be too sure what ‘data’ we will collect. With Lisa already reporting sightings of humpbacks and sperm whales, we could be lucky again. We now just hope that the weather and whale gods are on our side and we can look forward to some great fieldwork (and data collection) over the next few days.
I hope you’ve all been eagerly reading your expedition materials and know to bring many layers of clothing. The weather can be a bit like four seasons in one day, so prepare for warm, cold, wet and dry. Like the weather in Scotland! Don’t forget your waterproof trousers – you’ll thank me when you are stationed on the bow as a lookout and the weather is choppy (so also bring your motion sickness pills/patches – if you know you need them!).
So with the local team in place, whale sightings already logged by Lisa, all we are missing is you. This Monday morning is hopefully one we are all looking forward to….. It will be great to meet you all.
This reminds me to mention communications on the island. There’s cell/mobile reception on Faial in addition to internet here and there, but remember the golden rule of no cell phones while we’re at sea. Hopefully you can resist the need for frequent international comms, and why not go off the grid for the expedition, and soak up the experience of Atlantic island isolation. My mobile number here is (+351) 962 338 060. Hopefully you and I won’t need it, but there you have it, just in case of emergencies, such as being late for assembly.
Safe travels and we look forward to meeting group 1 on Monday and groups 2 and 3 in due course.
Update from our volunteer vacation / conservation holiday protecting whales, dolphins and turtles around the Azores archipelago