After a couple of intense packing days, we are ready for the first arm of the expedition! Through this process, I definitely learned a lot about preparing for science in a remote region.
Lesson 1: When in doubt, pack that screw AND the screwdriver to fit it!
I packed extras of almost everything it seems! Plus, you have to make sure everything works together. That is why in my BRUVs design, I made sure to use the same size of screw for everything. Bringing an extra screw is useless if you don’t have the right tool to fit, and keeping this uniform saves on space… AND weight….
Which leads me to…
Lesson 2: The luggage scale is your friend
When you’re traveling with 6 BRUVs, 2 ROVs (with insanely heavy tethers), and an arsenal of tools, packing can be a complicated process. Luckily for my lab, I am an expert at Tetris. The only drawback is that it’s too easy to pack TOO DENSE! Shuffling items for the perfect balance of weight between bags is tricky business. Our lab was momentarily overtaken by suitcases spread open, with piles of gear next to them determined to not cross the dreaded 50lb limit!
Lesson 3: This experience will make you a TSA Jedi
Traveling with lithium-ion batteries, PVC pipe frames and extra tools will get you a lot of attention during travel. I certainly learned A LOT about what you can (and cannot) fly with. Small things that you always take for granted… WD-40 for your ROV, for example – can become a logistical nightmare.