With full steam we went over the North Sea through the English Channel. In the Bay of Biscay we were lucky with the weather, because the wind and swell are usually quite unpleasant there. Passing the northwest tip of the Iberian Peninsula, I could witness Cape Finisterre, where I had already been sitting at the end of my pilgrimage to Santiago. We passed by Madeira and the Canary Islands on our way south until we reached our destination between the Mauritanian coast and the Cape Verde Islands.
On the very second day of the scientific work, an accident at work occurred which changed our program. The ship was rolling in the sea and one of our colleagues lost his balance and supported himself with his left hand when falling on the working deck. The X-ray showed a severely bent, unstable, wrist fracture of the radius, which was closed and had to be treated surgically. After the initial treatment with reduction and plaster splint, we immediately went full steam ahead to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria to have our colleague fly home, where he was successfully operated in the hospital of his home town. This took two days and 1000 nautical miles, because we had to drive back from Las Palmas to the target area of the research expedition. From then on, the 24/7 work program was intensified again. Nevertheless, all planned projects could be carried out in full, which we celebrated afterwards. Towards the end of the expedition we carried out safety and rescue exercises using a lifeboat on the return trip near the Canary Islands. Our meteorologist launched weather balloons several times a week and reported daily not only to the bridge, captain and cruise director, but also to the German Weather Service with current data from our position.
An intensive and varied expedition with the only civilian ship flying the German flag of the Federal Service came to an end. The return journey to the Azores requires a current SARS-CoV-2 PCR test and questionnaires, which have to be submitted online beforehand due to the particularly strict regulations of the Atlantic islands. A few days after arriving in my island paradise I have to go back for a control test. So far my island is absolutely COVID-19 free.