The challenges of marine research are determined by the sea conditions

Each year, marine scientists may spend up to several weeks on a marine research vessel. These expeditions may last from a few days to weeks. On such research trips, the activities on Aranda are based on seamless collaboration, in which each researcher manages their own area of responsibility and also participates in other tasks as needed.

When even standing upright is an effort

Working on a ship is not always easy, the degree of difficulty is mainly determined by the sea conditions. In heavy seas, scientists are particularly put to the test. Those suffering from seasickness sometimes have to suspend their work, and every voyager has to try to stay upright while keeping their research equipment in place.

Fortunately, Aranda's navigation system is state-of-the-art. The ship’s hull is ice-strengthened and stable, and scientists do not need to worry even among the ten-metre waves of the oceans or in the middle of pack ice. However, in rough seas their sleep is often interrupted, making it sometimes challenging to maintain focus on operations which require accuracy.

During monitoring voyages in the Baltic Sea, the ship travels night and day and scientists work in shifts averaging 12 hours in length. As the various sampling stations come and go, completing the tasks sometimes feels like working on a conveyor belt. The actual experience is far removed from any romantic ideas about marine research.

Kirjoittaja hymyilee kameralle, taustalla pussitetaan näytettä.
The author on a research expedition in the Baltic Sea.

Penguins and polar bears

However, there is an opportunity to experience the Jacques Cousteau spirit when the ship heads for an exploratory voyage to the polar regions, i.e. the North or South Pole. When travelling to Antarctica, you can make the acquaintance of penguins, while in Greenland, polar bears can be observed on the sea ice from the deck of the ship. We go to sleep at night and every day brings new experiences.

Over the years, one of the most thrilling experiences has been Aranda’s first trip to Antarctica in 1989. I will never forget the diverse forms of icebergs that appeared on the horizon and drifted past us as we journeyed ever southwards. The giant albatrosses gliding low almost to the masts of the ship, and the penguins which came close to see what we funny-looking penguins were really up to on the ice…

  Kirjoittaja operoi vanhanaikaista ja isoa atk-laitetta, joka tulostaa paperiliuskaa.

The best thing about Aranda is the good team spirit of both the researchers and staff, the excellent food, and the comfortable setting. When off-duty, researchers can maintain their fitness in the ship's gym and relax, for example, by taking a sauna or watching TV via satellite.

However, not everyone is suited to work in such ship conditions. Over the years, for many scholars and researchers, their first Aranda experience has also been their last.