Blog readers will know that we have two sets of instrumentation stranded on the seabed due to the COVID-19 situation.
Now that travel restrictions have started to ease we have managed to mobilise two teams to recover them.
One team left Southampton at the beginning of September for a long run to the Congo Canyon offshore Angola. This week saw them make a pitstop in the Canaries to top up the fuel.
A quick in and out in Santa Cruz de Tenerife at the marine equivalent of the petrol station.
Today will see this team pass the Cape Verde islands – still a long way to go.
This team have taken quite a few projects with them to keep them out of mischief during the 52 day round trip, for what will be merely a few days work.
The second team have arrived in the Azores after quite a long outbound journey that also involved COVID testing on arrival at the main island and a quarantine in a hotel until the results came in – at a testing station constructed in the main car park at the airport from marquees.
Being quarantined in the Azores is perhaps not such a bad thing as the views are quite spectacular.
Negative results all round allowed the team to do a bit of quick social bubble sightseeing in Ponta Delgarda before progressing on to the island of Horta, taking in the fort
and the marina
before heading back to the airport.
for the short hop to the island of Faial.
Here the team will have to sit out a 14 day quarantine and their second COVID-19 test before they can embark on the Arquipelgo for the instrument recovery.
The view from their quarantine accommodation puts a whole new spin on remote working.
From here they can see the Arquipelago which arrived back from refit in Lisbon on the same day.
Unsurprisingly at this time of the year the weather will be the main challenge and the forecast suggests that Sunday is the best weather window for sometime.
Fortunately that corresponds with the end of the 14 day quarantine.
In the interim the Arquipelago has moved back to a berth near the warehouse where we left our equipment in February and it will load that for us on Saturday to ensure a quick departure on Sunday so that the recoveries can be done before the weather turns.
The recoveries should take no longer than a day – but it will be almost a month away to achieve that day which demonstrates not only how valuable the equipment is, but how priceless the data it holds is.
So its time to keep our fingers crossed.
Some projects never go to plan, and this one has certainly seen some very unexpected twists and turns.
[Ship tracking courtesy of Marine Traffic.]