Azores: first diary entry 2020

This year everything is different. I’m Lisa Steiner and this is the first diary entry for the Azores 2020 (mini) expedition.

Lisa Steiner on the right

I have been the scientist on this expedition for the last sixteen (!) years and normally the expedition leader would write this, but this year everyhing is different.

The coronavirus has stopped the world in its tracks. It’s also made citizen scientist participation in the expedition impossible, so starting tomorrow, I will have a mini expedition with myself, a local skipper and his boat only. Thank you for Biosphere Expeditions, and by extension to all you citizen scientist out there, who are now probably in lockdown at home, for making this possible through your funding!

It’s not been easy to get this mini expedition going. First, Horta harbour is closed to any activity except fishing, so I needed to see if an exemption could be granted for research trips. After clarifying some details, such as I am in fact resident on the island (so no quarantine required), the restriction was lifted as scientific research was deemed professional work, which it is. Then I had to find a suitable private boat (tourist boats are banned from going out). So I called another friend that has a sailing boat and he said OK! Then I had to get a permit for the boat and now we are finally good to go!

So from tomorrow the challenge will be to find  whales. I have contacted a couple of the lookouts to see if they will spot whales for me, since I won’t have a hydrophone to find sperm whales on my own. If things go well tomorrow, I will try to adapt the small directional hydrophone used on the whale watching RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boat) to use on my friend’s yacht.

Watch this space and wish me luck. Hopefully things will go well tomorrow.

6 Replies to “Azores: first diary entry 2020”

  1. Good luck Lisa! I’m glad you’ve managed to get back out but what a shame there will be no citizen scientists this year – sad times indeed! I hope you found whales today

  2. Reblogged this on ndlr and commented:
    Hey Lisa, I wish you good luck for this years expedition. I am looking forward to read from you as I am really interested in what´s going on out there at the Azores. I hope i will be able to support you again in another year.
    Best wishes
    Ralf ( from the 2016 Expedeition 1 Slot)

  3. So good to hear there is some sort of exepdition after all!!
    Reading the blog back brings back a lot of good memories :-):-)
    Good luck with the expedition!

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