Ship ran aground
The research equipment is now packed and ready we are ourselves more or less ready to go out and get to work deploying the hydrophones. Then the disaster happens. The ship runs aground, due to human error. All field operations are put on hold. Divers examine the ships hull and luckily there’s no major damage. But these type of situations cannot be allowed to occur down here, where we are so many days away from getting help.
The project is cancelled
Based on this and on a couple of earlier happenings, the prefect (the highest authority) of the “Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAFF)” decides that the crew does not have the experience required to do this kind of operation in such dangerous waters as what we have around Kerguelen. Therefore, all use of the ship is denied for the remaining of this season. The shock waves ripple through the group of researchers down here, who now see their long-time planned and very expensive research projects vanish into nothing. Since our project is completely dependent on a ship, I myself do not escape the consequences. The project cannot be completed.
Now that we all of the sudden don’t have a project anymore it’s just a matter of getting back home as soon as possible. We’ll get a lift with a smaller boat going back to Reunion Island in just a few days and the trip is expected to take about 10 days. While we wait, we (of course) go fishing. It’s a little unaccustomed having elephant seals and penguins around us while we fish, but it’s very nice, and we even get some bites.
Read earlier blog posts from the Kerguelen expedition
Translated by Anders L. Kolstad