The expedition starts in Dutch Habor – Unalaska.

Epic journey

I am a researcher from Belgium and I was invited to join the AleutBIO expedition to work on echinoderms (e.g. sea stars, urchins). On board I will be part of the AGT team, trawling on the seabed to collect the “big” animals.

It is only the start of the expedition but my journey to get on the RV Sonne was a very long and chaotic one. Before arriving to Dutch Harbor, where the ship was, we all had a long journey ahead from Europe to Alaska for most of us.

This journey started for me around 5am in Brussels on a Thursday and I was far from imagining that it would be the longest journey I ever did. As one bad thing leads to another, my first train, to Frankfurt airport got cancelled without any clear reason… I had to take two trains and one bus (which got lost somewhere in Germany) to finally reach the airport in time to fly to Anchorage. Although I was a bit tired, I was relieved to finally make it! or not…

From Anchorage to Dutch Harbor, we have to take a small plane that can only carry few people and luggage and is very dependent on weather.

Long story short, I had to spend three nights at the airport hoping to get on a plane while knowing that the ship had to leave on that third day. Luckily enough, I managed to get on the last plane but with my main luggage left behind…

The most important is that I am onboard now, I got a warm welcome when arriving and made friend with some of the crew that were stuck with me.



The airport of Dutch Harbor is not big.
Dutch Habor can only be reached by Turboprob aircraft. If the cargo hold and passenger cabin are full, or in unfavourable wind conditions, a refuelling stop has to be made on the way from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor.
Landing conditions are difficult due to wind and clouds. It happens that the planes have to fly back without landing after a round over the airport.
The AGT (Agassiz Trawl) has to be prepared for the mission in the harbour without the help of Camille.
The first picture of Camille on board. Just made it. Everyone has pitched in and is now helping with donations from their suitcases, because the luggage is still somewhere in Alaska.