Upwelling step 1

Ulf Riebesell by Ulf Riebesell on 11.9.2019

How do you simulate artificial upwelling in a harbour less than 10 meters deep? Well, you collect the water off-shore and bring it back to town. That was one of the tasks on today’s schedule. The ship we had chartered for this months ago, however, dropped out on a very short notice because of engine problems. Oh well, Las Palmas has a huge harbour, with lot’s of companies servicing the oil and aquaculture industries. It should be no problem finding another ship. That’s in theory. In practice Andrea, Xabier, Javier and Besay, a well-connected agent who has supported us in previous campaigns, spent hours on the phone, calling chartering companies all over the Canaries … just to find out that no vessel is presently available to help us collect some deep water. We were gathering ideas for a plan B, when Besay suddenly presented us with a solution. When Micha drove to Las Palmas to look for himself, it didn’t really seem like a solution to him. Certainly not the ship we had imagined. But in the absence of a compelling plan B, we ended up accepting that this IS our solution.

Deep water collection(4) Chamar Uno loading our containers for deep water collection

When Chamar Uno entered Taliarte harbour this morning, I was still in doubt. But the crew seemed quite capable and within no time, all our equipment was loaded and lashed. And off she went with Micha, Silvan and Marvin on board. What was planned to last just a few hours ended up taking the entire day – some still unexplained technical problems with our deep water equipment took hours to be resolved, but our brave deep water collection team just didn’t give up. When the sun was almost setting, the Chamar Uno finally returned to Taliarte harbour with twelve 1-cubic metres containers filled with precious deep water.

Deep water collection(2) Chamar Uno heading off to sea, with Micha, Marvin and Silvan on board

The containers were quickly unloaded and stored in our reefer at 8°C until our first addition into the mesocosms. 12 cubic metres of deep water should be good for four cycles of simulated upwelling, which are scheduled for every second day. So it won’t be long until we see Chamar Uno again.

Deep water collection(3) Unloading the containers with our precious deep water

Deep water collection(1) Storing the containers in the reefer until the water is needed for deep water addition