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Rondom de Horizon - Joeri Bosma

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Joeri Bosma

A year ago I left with the research vessel Pelagia on a voyage from the Texel coast to the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. The line of the horizon enclosed me like a circle, in an infinite perspective. Two weeks in the marine landscape, a world like nothing I’ve ever seen or felt before. During the expedition, NIOZ was studying what goes on under the surface of the sea. An unimaginable immensity; with every nautical mile from land I felt myself becoming smaller. I surrendered to the view and lost myself in the waves. In the end, the horizon proved to be an illusion: back on shore the line is straight again, but now I know what hides behind it.


Location artwork: De Rede
De Rede, Oudeschild
Location number 1 (see map)

RV Pelagia

The RV Pelagiais a research vessel of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. Whereas her smaller sister vessel the RV Navicula operates mainly in the Wadden Sea, and the even smaller RV Stern is used for light research work and to transport personnel, the Pelagia, at 66 metres in length, is suitable for more demanding ocean-going research.

The Pelagia can be used for many different types of research. Complete laboratories in the form of sea containers can be set up on her aft deck and in the hold. The vessel also carries permanent laboratories and various winches for sending nets and measuring equipment several kilometres down to the ocean floor. On top of the wheelhouse is the observation deck, where biologists brave the elements to look for birds, whales and dolphins. 

RV Pelagia, a workshop on the ocean
It was with good reason that the RV Pelagia was named after “pelagic”, i.e. “belonging to the deep sea”. The 66-metre-long vessel is fully equipped for research work on any of the world’s oceans. Only the polar seas with their pack ice are inaccessible to this vessel, except with the help of icebreakers. 

Large sea containers on the Pelagia’s aft deck and in her hold host an ever-changing series of laboratories. When a task is finished, the entire laboratory is winched off in the vessel’s home port and the next research group can put a new lab in its place.

The Pelagia’s permanent inventory includes a number of enormous winches with ten kilometres of steel and power cables. These cables can be used to send instruments to the ocean floor to measure temperature, salinity, flow rate or other parameters at any depth that the scientists require.

Uncharted territory
In 2018, the Pelagia spent more than six months at sea as part of the Netherlands Initiative Changing Oceans, a major research expedition to the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The aim was to conduct research with all of the Dutch researchers in this field and at the same time to draw attention to ocean research and the contributions of the only Dutch vessel involved in this research. Even though more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered with water, we still know very little about life in the oceans, let alone about the ocean floor, water currents and water chemistry.

Grand old lady
Built in 1991, the Pelagia is – in relative terms – the “grand old lady” of the international research fleet. If the Netherlands is to continue to play a key role in scientific research, it needs to build a new research vessel. With this in mind, the various researchers who use the Pelagia have already drawn up their wish lists in recent years: what would their ideal ocean-going workshop need? The new Pelagia not only needs to serve the Netherlands’ marine research in coming decades; it will also become a floating laboratory for clean maritime innovation.

More information about the research vessels can be found on the NIOZ website.

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SEA Texel

Ruim 70 procent van onze aarde bestaat uit zee. Een onuitputtelijke bron van inspiratie. S.E.A brengt een ode aan de zee, door kunstwerken geïnspireerd op wetenschap op Texel te realiseren.

Contact informatie

Project SEA
Pontweg 19
1797 SN Den Hoorn, Texel
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