An historic deep sea research expedition - only the second in Cook Islands waters in over 30 years, left Avatiu Harbour last Monday after bad weather delayed the trip by two weeks.
While everyone else enjoyed Christmas Day on dry land this year, the crew and Ocean Minerals Ltd technical team were at sea undertaking a special deep sea research expedition, north of Aitutaki.
The eight-day voyage, on local vessel MV Grinna, set off almost two weeks later than planned.
However, all the local crew and technical team remained optimistic that they would eventually be able to depart and were keen to join in the historic research opportunity.
Monday’s dockside farewell was organised by Seabed Minerals Commissioner Paul Lynch who said a word of thanks and passed on best wishes from the Minister of Natural Resources and Minerals, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown.
“The Seabed Minerals related voyage is being conducted under a Research Application approved by the Cook Islands Research Committee,” Lynch said.
“It relates to some limited nodule, sediment and biological research, using basic ‘free fall grab’ sampling, in the Ocean Minerals Ltd reserve area, north of Aitutaki.”
Friends and family gathered to farewell their loved ones who were embarking on the exciting adventure.
The team’s research leader, Hans Smit of Ocean Minerals, said a word of thanks to the Cook Islands and the team assembled for the research trip.
He introduced the four representatives of his experienced overseas technical team and noted the excellent calibre and enthusiasm of the six Cook Islands volunteers, who had helped prepare the Grinna for departure.
The research voyage is being conducted under international standards for technical, health and safety requirements and sanctioned by all relevant Cook Islands authorities, laws and regulations.
Cook Islands traditional leader Pa Ariki shared some words of wisdom and wished the research team a safe and successful voyage.
Her son, traditional Cook Islands voyager Sam Napa Junior, then performed a pe’e (traditional cultural chant) and explained how appropriate it was for this type of ocean expedition in Cook Islands waters.
The team are expected back in Avatiu Harbour on December 30-31.