Frank Coman spent two weeks visiting the SAHFOS laboratories in Plymouth in December 2008. The main purpose of the visit was to discuss procedures that may increase the likelihood of attracting a commercial ship to collaborate on the East Australian Current route with Peter Pritchard, the operations manager at SAHFOS. These discussions proved very useful and we are currently communicating with ANL to see if we can have a CPR deployed from one of their ships working along the East Australian coast.
While at the laboratories Frank was also able to talk with many of the other SAHFOS staff and learned a great deal about the about the biological and technical aspects of the survey in general, which can be applied to the Australian Continuous Plankton Recorder survey. A highlight of the visit was an overnight voyage on the Bretagne, a cross channel ferry running between Plymouth and Roscoff in France, when Frank was able to see first hand the pre voyage preparation, delivery, deployment, retrieval and return to the laboratory of a CPR unit.
The staff at SAHFOS were all generous with their time and knowledge, and this visit, along with visits by other AusCPR staff planned for later in 2009 are likely to increase the strength of collaborations between the two surveys.