The students are on board
Also a floating university must have students. The first two came on board in Arendal.
The voyage around the earth is a wonderful experience, but the journey is first and foremost a way to get more knowledge. The students Erlend Mundal and Erik Furevik came on board in Arendal.
They are already in the process of taking water samples, which, among other things, will help the researchers find out how much water the solar heat can evaporate from the sea.
- We must ensure that the automatic systems work and send data to the mainland, says Erlend.
Erlend studies mathematics at the University of Bergen, Erik cybernetics and robotics at NTNU.
Mathematics is certainly not the subject you primarily associate with research on the oceans and climate, but this time it is precisely the knowledge that Erlend and Erik have that is needed.
Automatic measurements around the clock for months is about keeping the technical equipment going, and about handling large data sets - exactly what these two master.
Erlend smiles now he is asked what data he is most excited about.
- The fish, I'm excited about what types of fish we get!
Samples of life down in the depths will be collected, and will certainly include species that the two never see at home.
The two are also curious about microplastics. All the plastic waste that ends up in the sea is broken down into tiny pieces, that you need a microscope to see.
- I am curious about how much plastic the researchers actually find out on the open sea, says Erlend.
The opportunity to join the expedition simply drifted past Erlend.
- I received an email from my supervisor, and said yes, he says.
He did not fully understand what he had agreed on at the beginning.
When I realized what this was really about, I was really geared up, it will be exciting, he smiles.
Erik grew up on the island Sotra west of Bergen, with the sea near by.
- I know Statsraad Lehmkuhl well, and have long wanted to be on board. So I have followed the One ocean project a bit, he says.
Erik was told that one of the students who was to join had to withdraw.
- Then I was quick, and seized the opportunity immediately.
Erlend and Erik will be on board to Las Palmas. There they muster off, and leave the hammocks to new students, who will join for the next two months.
It is a great responsibility to be the first students on board. It is Erlend and Eriks responsibility to get the equipment up and running and the routines in place.
- If we now start to do something wrong, then it will follow the voyage all the way, Erlend says.
Erik has been in small boats a lot, but neither of them has sailing experience.
- I have only been on board ferries in Western Norway, never out on the open sea, Erlend says.
Erlend enjoys life on board, eating and sleeping closely with others is just nice.
- Much nicer than I had thought, more space than I had imagined in advance, and it is easy to get in touch with people.
- Very very social, always someone to talk to.
All photos: Ingrid Wollberg