December 2019 OES Beacon

Member Highlights (December 2019)

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Long voyage without seeing the land

Harumi Sugimatsu, BEACON newsletter Editor in Chief

Soufugan with many birds, but no humans

We had a voyage for surveying the seabed mineral resources using AUVs and an ROV this summer for almost three weeks from 28 August to 19 September. On the way to going to the south east from Moji port that belongs to Kyushu island (the south part of Japan), on 30 August, we passed very near the Soufugan, which is a unique rock standing up to approximately 100m height from the sea surface.     Many birds are living at the rock, but no humans.

Minamitorishima Island, 1860km from Tokyo

We then passed the Minamitorishima Island, 1860 kilometers southeast of Tokyo on  September 1st.  The island has a triangular   shape and is very flat.  So, if a typhoon hits the island, people should evacuate to a safe place.

During the AUVs and ROV survey that was conducted from 3 to 12 September, there were no islands; we saw just the blue oceans.  The next day, on September 13th, we were on the long way back to Moji port.  No islands until September 16th, when we saw the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands).  Islands are famous for whale/dolphin watching.  Much of nature’s beauty is there, however, all we were able to see was the islands from a distance…

Ogasawara Islands

Totally, we saw only three islands during our voyage. We were in the small world, but it moved with ship trajectories.   Such days in the ship are like the whole world is reflected into. Very dense days.   Voyage, travel, reflects the person’s life itself.   What is next, I am now imaging.