Since the mobile research station and the mobile workshop have arrived at Inis Méaín in August 2020, a lot of progress has been made. This amazing progress is due to the hard work of the project engineer, Arnaud, and the help from the people of the island.
This was my first trip to the island, after working at Basecamp, almost a year ago. It was amazing to see how much the project infrastructure has developed, and I was eager to do some hands-on work.
I have arrived on the island at midday, and almost constantly experienced the islands hospitality. After getting of the ferry, I was straight away asked by the locals if I needed help, or a lift, and if everything was ok. I was welcomed to the island by Arnaud, who had already spent most of the week on the island. First, we stopped at the mobile workshop, where I got the grand tour - discovering the workspace, shelter area, and studying a very detailed map of Inis Méaín. We discussed the work plan for the next two days, taking the unpredictable weather into account. Next, we travelled to the mobile research station. As we arrived, a stunning rainbow appeared over Gregory's Sound, and the stone walls were 'singing' with the incredible winds. The location is not only breath-taking, it is positioned in a way that would allow collecting multiple streams of wave data: from video to vibration, and everything in between. The station is now equipped with solar panels, a generator, and a wind generator is scheduled to be installed in the coming weeks. The station is becoming a central point that will gather all the vital data and transmit it to the mainland.
After a quick working lunch, we came back to the mobile workshop and Arnaud had to travel back to basecamp, and I was now alone and ready to work. One can imagine, how much maintenance work is required, when you work in such adverse weather conditions. Luckily, it was dry that afternoon, so I started by scraping off newly formed rust from the outside of the container, cleaning these areas, and covering them with a new coat of paint. Before it got dark, I had managed to coat the frame for solar panels, that will power the workshop, with a base coat. And with that one day’s work was done.
On Friday, I walked to the workshop and carried on with paint jobs. But very heavy rain changed the plans. At around nine in the morning Arnaud, and Professor Frederic Dias, joined me on the island. First, we went to inspect possible locations for the research pods. These pods will be mounted at cliff edges and will contain various sensors. The sensors in the pods will transmit data to the research station, so our next job was to assemble and mount the antenna. While Frederic and Arnaud were meeting some of the islanders who provide support for the project, I assembled the brackets that would hold the antenna in place. Once we were all back at the station, it was time to put on the harness and go on top of the station to mount the antenna. All three of us, working together, were able to lift the required tools and equipment onto the roof, and mount it onto the mast. We became one step closer to transmitting the data.
We had to make our way back to the airstrip, as the wind was picking up, and we had a short window to leave the island. After a short flight we were back at Inverin, and I could make my way back to Dublin.
Once again, I got to see how much background work is required before one can start the actual experimental work. But this work is very rewarding, as you can see and even touch the results of your work, and you get to understand all the intricate hidden connections between all the elements of the project. There is more work to be done, and I am looking forward to going back to the amazing Inis Méaín.