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Meridian Passages, Volume XIII, Number 2

Central Pacific Edition


R/V Mermaid Vigilance Depart Honolulu on Schedule

Artwork by Jenne James presented to Alan Eustace. Quote reads: “From all who fly, to all who swim, and all the earth in between, the freedom to explore our world at the greatest depths and the grandest heights, no matter where we go, in the end brings us closer to home.” – Jenne James

This morning at 0751 R/V Mermaid Vigilance cast off lines and put to sea beginning the 2017 Eustace Earhart Discovery Expedition. Our nine minute early departure was a good omen, everyone agrees. The final day of mobilization was busy with last minute shopping, cleaning spaces, and securing for sea occupying most of the day. Doc Pam arrived in the afternoon completing the team, and Louise also showed up to see us off.

By evening, with all preparations made and all hands present, we gathered for a group sunset photo with Mermaid in the background, then repaired to Uncle’s Restaurant for a farewell dinner. Local friends joined us, as well as Captain Noe and other members of the Vigilance crew. The team presented Alan with a unique & beautiful artistic creation depicting the earth surrounded by elements of sea & space, courtesy of Jenne James. We also gave a gift for his wife Kathy, and Elgen gave him a nautical pen in a case made of ancient wood. Alan had some kind and heartfelt words of inspiration, and we ended the evening in quite good humor. Then it was returning rental cars and to bed for the long day ahead.

Once at sea, we immediately prepared for an operational test of the AUV. Remus was deployed and spent a successful couple of hours exercising sonars, lights, cameras, navigation, tracking, and all other functions. An opportunity for the ship’s crew to maneuver into recovery position provided some excitement, including learning the difference between “stop engines” and “stop the ship.” Greg, Jeff, and Tom were all pleased with the results, so we turned southwest to begin a week-long transit to our area of operations near Howland Island.

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