As we head into port – Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago – we see our first sight of land since we left Mindelo in the Cape Verde on the 14th January. It’s been quite a long time. And it is a nice sight to see.
These are the hills of the north coast of Trinidad as we make our way to the pilot station, passing a number of drilling vessels that are anchored offshore – probably out of work given the low price of oil right now.
At the pilot station the pilot boat quickly circles around the stern of the vessel to drop the Pilot off on the starboard side where he climbs up the ladder, makes his way to the bridge, and guides the vessel to its berth.
Our Pilot is the man in the white shirt on the roof of the pilot boat getting ready to climb aboard the Cook with the crew ready to welcome him aboard.
Then we carry on at transit speed into the port and we can already see the hotels and Parliament building in downtown Port of Spain from the point where we pick up the Pilot.
And here we are – 42 days later, back against dry land.
And with all of our ocean-bottom seismographs lined up ready to be packed into our shipping containers once some space is made on the stern working deck to accommodate them.
And we get a few new views of the Cook that we haven’t seen for quite a while.
But the science doesn’t end here. The scientists still have to calibrate the ship-based gravity meter against a land calibration station – here are the two Ship’s Systems Technicians “tying” the ship’s marine meter to the quay using a land gravity meter and then they will take this land meter to the location of an absolute gravity calibration point that the scientists are also going to install, so that the data they have acquired from the central Atlantic at 13N can be added to the global databases and used by everyone.
An absolute gravity meter is a very sensitive and delicate instrument indeed, and this one was shipped on the RRS James Cook from the UK, assembled at the calibration point and is currently making measurements as this blog is typed.
The meter above, and the measurement system and its computer below.
The measurement process could take 5 days!
And as the metaphorical sun starts to set on this adventure and we prepare to pack our equipment into the shipping containers to send it home – here is the obligatory sunset view over the bay in which Port of Spain lies with a number of vessels sitting at anchor.