We get our first glimpse of Fernando de Noronha as our ship,the Research Vessel SEWARD JOHNSON, steams closer.
Team member Devon Keeney waits in vain at the local Post Office. Eventually, he found out that the office had closed just minutes before his arrival.
Life on Fernando de Noronha revolves around the sea. Representations of ocean animals cover every available space, it seems.
This small, colorful church stands on the hilltop of one of the island's villages.
Keeping in touch from a phone bubble, one of the crew members calls back to the States.
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DISPATCH 16: Shore Leave!
@Sea correspondent/photographer, Mark Carroll
Visible from most of the island and for miles out to sea, a massive, rocky
spire rises from the heart of Fernando de Noronha.
1:35pm, March 26, onboard the Research Vessel SEWARD JOHNSON (RVSJ) -- During the night, the RVSJ
steamed steadily towards the island of Fernando de Noronha, where a day of
shore leave awaited her work-weary crew.
Through the clearing haze of a recent rainstorm, F.N.'s distinctive silhouette jutted from the horizon. An imposing rocky spire rises from the island's center, defining it's visual profile. From the base of this imposing beacon spreads the greenest of green, green, green vegetation. The sheer vibrance of it easily equals the visual impact of the island'
s central peak. It appeared to be an uninhabited place, covered in dense, primeval jungles and tendrils of wafting mist. Welcome to Jurassic Park!
5:35pm, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil -- The RSVJ dropped anchor just off the
coast. After a quick ride to shore on the aptly named "Liberty Boat," the
crew dispersed into the island's interior. It was the first time that we had
walked on truly solid ground in some time (the soft sand beach at Atol das Rocas,
although ground, was rarely solid). I had heard that it is often impossible
to stand after returning from a voyage at sea. But, at this point, no one
seemed to be wobbling too badly out of control.
The villages on Noronha are intensely colorful, and betray in every gesture their deep connection to the ocean.
Bright-hued buildings complement one another, playing off the powerful blues
of the tropical sky and sea. Rusty red tin roofs hang over painted walls, alive with frescos of sea life.
The crew settled into a well-deserved night of relaxation, mostly soaking in
the character of the place -- the local color and the limey drinks. It was the
perfect setting to sit back and get to know each other outside the "office."
With such a dynamic crew, conversation came easily. Everyone had shark
tales and scars to show. I was seeing a compelling side of science and scientists, I thought to myself, as their tales celebrated a deep-seated spirit of adventure. It is that spirit that has driven them to chase knowledge wherever it leads -- to tiny, colorful islands in the middle of the ocean -- into waters teeming with sharks...
to read Part 2 of our DAY 13 dispatch from mission leader and chief scientist, Dr. Samuel Gruber.