By Barbara John
After a long flight from Santiago to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and lots of exploring, the science party has boarded the Atlantis and is busy setting up the labs and getting oriented to the ship.
The departure from Rapa Nui feels fitting as many members of the science party are from the University of Wyoming, the same university as professor William Malloy, a distinguished archeologist. In 1955 he was invited to join a Norwegian expedition to Rapa Nui, and inspired by what he found there, he returned to the island more than 20 time after. During these visits he investigated many archaeological sites and led the restoration of the first Moai platform, Ahu Akivi. Today, a plaque commemorates his contributions and his personal library remains there to this day as a public resource about the island and its past.
We departed at 9 am on Sunday and should arrive at the Pito Deep early Monday morning. Our first order of business will be to deploy Sentry, an underwater autonomous vehicle that collects detailed scans of the seafloor; this tells us when to send JASON, our remotely operated vehicle to explore particular spots in greater detail by taking videos and collecting samples. Stay tuned!