Steve Bell

Research Specialist
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences


One of the most important aspects of an oceanographic cruise is pre-cruise planning and the loading of equipment. During December 2008 the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) vessel R.V. Atlantic Explorer was unavailable to conduct the monthly Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) cruise. We eagerly accepted the offer of the use of the R.V. Oceanus as a replacement for the Dec. 2008 cruise.

 I was chief scientist for this cruise. A few days prior to the cruise departure I was told that we needed to load a radiation van onto the ship for it to be transferred back to the USA at the completion of the cruise. I hastily organized a crane and a truck to transport the van from BIOS to St. Georges where the Oceanus was docked. It's a distance of about 3 kilometers. The crane and truck which arrived at BIOS was massive by Bermudian standards. After it was loaded onto the truck there was a few worried frowns from the truck driver as well as the crane driver. After a brief exchange, out came the tape measure. After measuring the height of the van on the back of the truck there was a bit of head shaking. The driver came over and told me that the height wouldn't fit under power/telephone lines above the road. But he added not to worry. He made a phone call and another smaller truck turned up with four men in the back with very long wooden sticks with a 'Y' junction at one end. We then proceeded into St. George's. Once we hit the main road the four men began to walk in front of the truck and, using the sticks, held the wires up as the truck passed underneath. Needless to say it took quiet some time to get to St. George's. It was quiet the sight as we had about fifty cars following us in at a snail's pace when we turned into the wharf. Luckily Bermudians are very patient and interested in what was going on so no tempers became frayed. I though it was very ingenious and resourceful and it all worked out well in the end and the BATS cruise, despite a few more hiccups, proved a successful cruise thanks to the locals as well as the officers and crew of the R.V. Oceanus!