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As part of my PhD training, I had the opportunity to visit the Basecamp,  located in the west coast of Ireland. The main goal of this visit was to get familiar with the key places where we plan to deploy sensors and instruments to measure breaking waves and their impact on cliffs. The visit also allowed me to be introduced to the new terms and concepts regarding wireless communication, an essential part of the HIGHWAVE project.

The journey started on Sunday 12th July. Arnaud and I departed from Dublin airport to the village of Bealandagan in Connemara, Co. Galway, where I got a lovely Airbnb accommodation. It was my very first trip outside Dublin since I arrived back in February, so I was quite excited.


On Monday, we had a kick-off meeting. Thanks to Arnaud, I started to get familiarised with terms like MRS (Mobile Research Station), MWU (Mobile Workshop Unit), POD (Portable Observation Device), WMAN (Wireless Maritime Area Network), among others, and also new concepts to me like the Fresnel zone, the absorption of the radio-waves by water interference, etc. I discovered the workshops (mechanical, electrical and computers). During the afternoon, we went to Tonacrick where a weather stations is already installed and measuring. After that, we headed to Rossaveel where we visited a small lake which is a natural wave tank, a potentially good site to conduct experiments to study the impact of breaking waves on cliffs, but at a reduced scale. There we talked about some strategies to obtain information about the lake bathymetry, the logistics, etc. It was a very good first day in the field.

The next day, the plan was to visit Inishmaan island. The ferry departed at 10:30 am and we arrived at Inishmaan around 11:30 am. We took a healthy 10 km walk around. First, we headed to the future location of the MRS at the top of the hill. This location is quite important because we have direct line of sight to the antenna located at Tonacrick, as well as the PODs which will look at the sea. This way we can enjoy real-time data. This spot also offers a fantastic view of the south part of  Inishmore and of the Atlantic Ocean.

mrs inishmaan

On Wednesday we stayed at the workshop as the weather wasn't great. We took advantage of the bad weather to clean the MRS and to do some other indoor activities, like setting up the server. During the afternoon and evening we discussed and drafted the project timeline for the rest of the year and the beginning of the next year. Of course we had time to enjoy a good real coffee.

On Thursday, we went to Inishmore, the biggest of the three islands. We visited the Dun Aonghasa site, which is a potential location to conduct the experiments at Inishmore.


Finally, on Friday morning, we visited JFC Marine, who helped us with the conception of our PODs. I had the opportunity to have a look at the PODs intial stages and also some interesting details about the design and manufacturing process of navigation and databuoys...

The field trip was indeed a very good experience. Definitely this is an essential part of the PhD training. I look forward to having more of these field trips in the near future.