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August 10, 2006

My first week

BY: Conchi de Pedro



My first week on board the Ranger has been an experience full of mixed emotion, on the one hand, gradually getting to know each member of the crew has brought feelings of comfort (I feel as if I were at home) and admiration (each one of them has a vast store of knowledge that I need to catch up on). On the other hand, my sailor’s chores have afforded me the opportunity to add my grain of salt and have given me a sense of being a necessary cog in the machine…

“I am quite conscious of all those people who have contributed to my training in order to get me where I am today and to make me love sailing and the sea even more each day: Joan M. Barberá, Diana Cuadras and Julio Tudela…. Thanks guys!”

It has not been easy for me (a girl from Zaragoza) to enter into the world of the sea, but my perseverance and tenacity have afforded me stamina enough to stay with it. Indeed, I believe that I have been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work on board the Ranger, an experience that will make a great contribution both to my personal, as well as my professional, education.

I got to know the Ranger and some of its distinguished crew members during their stay at the Sant Carles dry dock in La Rápita (where I am living at present) through a friend of mine, Raúl López. At that time I was working in the esplanade beside the Ranger’s dry dock station and every day I went over to have a chat with the crew. Carlos, Jordi and Albert inspired me with the curiosity, concern and yearning to embark and see the world. I must have seemed like an investigative reporter to them given the constant interrogation to which I subjected them about where they came from, their past, their aspirations for the future… . Exercising what now seems to be great patience they gradually answered my questions and satisfied my curiosity.

Since then, and up to the time the expedition weighed anchor, I have been following the Ranger’s voyages through the web, never imagining for one minute that I would one day have the chance of writing this on board log.

Nearly a fortnight ago I received an e-mail from Carlos offering me the wonderful opportunity of going on board. A week later the Ranger arrived.

Today marks nearly a whole week since I have been on board. Along with my fellow crew members I have done lots of different things, but perhaps the one that has impressed me most was when we launched the robot that arrived this week for the first time. It is really amazing!! It was sent down over 200 m and provided us with marvellous, sharp images that were displayed on the screen in the “meeting-room”. In addition, it was marvellous listening to our on-board biologists’ commentaries (experts as they are in the environment in question) who put names on the magnificent images we were enjoying.

The Oceana Foundation project is truly amazing, but we must not overlook all the human resources behind it that make it possible… . I wish to emphasise the enormous human quality of each one of the crew members that I have got to know on board the Ranger. You cannot imagine the companionship, friendliness and peace of life on board.

Today is the second day that we are moored in port. On Tuesday during a restricted ROV manoeuvre our port side motor broke down and spirits are a little low given the anxious wait involved before we can continue on with our work documenting as much information as possible. Thanks to our friend Ricardo Sagarminaga from the Sociedad Española de Cetáceos (i.e. Spanish Cetacean Association), whose boat, the Toftevaag, spent the night here at the Port of Almerimar we got in touch with the mechanic, Paco López (from Balanegra), who with no more ado got straight down to repairing our motor. I really hope that the Ranger will be setting sail again soon…