Oceans of Opportunity

on the finer points of last minute expedition logistics

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiOK, so I just forced myself to take a quick break from the last minute chaos of expedition logistics. With less than 24 hours until we take off on the 2010 in TOTO deep project, the realities of what we are undertaking are finally setting in. This is largely a function of wrapping up other work commitments and refocusing on the fact that 100% of the next 10 days will be spent fixed-focus on meeting our somewhat ambitious objectives of working in very deep water to acquire imagery and knowledge of an alien environment

So, what goes on during this final few hours at home?

For starters, packing. I shipped over 300 pounds of equipment ahead of us to ease the airport stress, but nevertheless, as everything but the kitchen sink has somehow crept into my pile, I am faced with the reality that I have to pair down – way down. For those of you who have been there, I am sure you can relate. We have ten days of intense deep exploration diving and related benthic science ahead in a relatively remote area, and according to the airlines, we have one fifty pound bag to do it with. Ugghh.

Next is making final tweaks to daily work plans and re-prioritizing specific objectives to ensure that we do indeed accomplish everything (and hopefully more) in this relatively short timeframe. Lists on top of lists, on top of lists to the point where the entire week has been rehearsed so many times in my head, it may as well have already happened. This may sound somewhat obsessive, but as with any pilot-scale project where we are thinking BIG but with small resources, every precious minute has to go to highly efficient use. Mentally preparedness for intense fieldwork is exhausting in itself.

And that brings us to our stakeholders. These types of projects are often not possible without donors, sponsors, and substantial personal resources invested. As we get closer, and the expedition sets in as a reality to those who may have been on the fence about lending support, last minute discussions and negotiations go on – often right til we set foot on the plane.

In the end, is it worth it? Absolutely. Just knowing that all of the effort from more than a year of planning is coming to fruition is just plain awesome.

And now the good stuff…the expedition (stay tuned as I write from the field).

For more on ‘2010 in TOTO deep’, visit www.oceanopportunity.com/BahamaDeep.html.
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